View Full Version : Update on python hunting....

July 26, 2009, 12:47 PM
It's not often that I find myself in agreement with the fine fringe element folks at the "Humane Society of the United States", a group not to be confused with the much more mainstream "Humaine Society" that we all are familiar with. But in at least part of their opinions on the python hunting going on in South Florida they are correct.

If you read the following piece from the "Orlando Centinal" you will see what I mean. Seems that even the fringies at the HSUS know that "we should not pursue wasteful and futile strategies like bounty programs and public hunts in Everglades National Park. They won’t work....".

Simple common sense tells you that just making note of the fact that pythons are good to eat and that the skins look good on a wall or as hat or belt ornaments should be all it takes to get plenty of folks into the woods. And it seems that only the government would think it necessary to pay someone to hunt stuff that tastes good and who's skin makes fine leather.

I mean it seems that with a little work this could be a self supporting program as license fees come rolling in...........but then we are talking about the Federal Government here.

And note that I said Federal Gov. as the Florida FWC has a good track record on things like this and in all likelyhood would be furhter along in doing it just this way if the Feds were not standing in the way.

The urge to hunt down giant Burmese Pythons in the Everglades got some pushback today from The Humane Society.

While ``deeply concerned’’ about the trade in pythons and their dramatic reproduction in places like the ‘Glades, The Humane Society called proposals to hunt these snakes to decrease their population a ``wrong-headed’’ notion.

Instead, officials should focus on banning the importation and interstate trade in pythons, the animal-protection group said.

The group also frowned on private ownership of large constrictor snakes, noting that one pet python recently got out of its container and killed a 2-year-old girl in Central Florida. A small number of pet snakes that got into the wild apparently led to tens of thousands.

“Because of the reckless practices of the pet trade, and the foolish decisions by people who want to own exotic animals, Florida has a major problem on its hands,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “While the problem is severe, we should not pursue wasteful and futile strategies like bounty programs and public hunts in Everglades National Park. They won’t work, and could do more harm than good.”

The number of snakes removed could not possibly keep up with the reproduction of the snake population, he said. One captured female reportedly had 85 developing eggs.

Bounty hunting puts people at risk of injury or death and could mistakenly remove non-target snakes from the ecosystem, the group said.

Congressman Tom Rooney, a Republican from Tequesta, and Florida Senator Bill Nelson are seeking a ban on importation of these snakes. Rooney also has introduced a bill to allow hunting of pythons in Everglades National Park, and Nelson has made the same proposal in a letter to the interior Department.

July 26, 2009, 01:42 PM
Python are not a native species and they have assumed a high postion on the food chain. Aligators are probably the only predator that can handle one and that may not always be true. The tree huggers only get excited when they loose a pet to a alligator and demand something be done about it. Just wait till one of these pythons raids a subdivision and takes a few pets, then all hell will break loose.

July 26, 2009, 07:06 PM
Pythons can take on the alligators and easily win

July 26, 2009, 07:39 PM
Big python will give a gator heck. Secret is for the gators to eat them while they are little...................................

July 26, 2009, 07:57 PM
A ban is % effective against new ones from coming in, but does nothing to suppress those that are already there. They want you to keep your head in the sand and hope the problem goes away. HSUS needs to be ignored.

July 26, 2009, 08:04 PM
Pythons can take on the alligators and easily win

Small Pythons are eaten by gators and small gators are eaten by large Pythons. A contest between adults might be interesting. Even the Anaconda has it's limits where preying on Caymans are concerned.

July 26, 2009, 08:28 PM
bswiv, There is absolutely not one sane sentence from the humaniacs! NOT ONE!!! They are trying to further their agenda to criminalize various possession of various pets! While releasing an invasive is a cardinal sin of out doors responsibility, so is buying a rifle and intentionally propping it against a tree and leaving it for who ever shall find it. Total irresponsible reptile "husbandry" should be handled with sever penalty. Short jail terms, high fines and in short order... FELONY!!!! Turning a python loose is not akin to flushing a dead gold fish down the tube. But flushing live predator fish should face the same penalty as the reptile release.
As for the HSUS claims... They haven't got a right to even speak as they feel the importation of these "pets" is evil "imprisonment" of just another pet! Their overall plan is for ALL pet ownership to be illegal to the point we all MUST release our cats and dogs, petiles and fish all in one strike of the gavel.
Right after that win they seek for all retetion fences of livestock be cut so these farm animals can live free as the HOLSTEIN was originally intended.

Many here are better versed in 2A battles but I was forced into the HSUS/PETA research and battle 5 years ago and have spent my time doing so.
John JP Goodwin... look that up! He is super high level in HSUS corp. He personally infiltrated a hog doggin/bulldog website hoping to nail us with animal cruelty/dog fighting evidence! He is a felonious terrorist BOMBER who walks our streets after many, plural... MORE THAN ONE bombings of farms, labs and fur barns admittedly, yet has never served more than his arrested days in jail! No sentenced jail terms have resulted in him spending one night after a verdict!

July 26, 2009, 09:29 PM
If they started publishing yummy python recipes in the paper every day and inviting folks to python bbq at the park, I think we might see people worrying about the endangered Florida python in a few years.

July 26, 2009, 10:57 PM
they tried the same thing with the tasty meat/soft pelt thing in louisania about the nutria. didnt work too well here.

most people object to eating a rodent, i see even more people objecting to eating a snake.

i wouldn't mind hunting me a few big pythons.

but what would you hunt them with? .300rum? :eek:

July 26, 2009, 11:32 PM
Turning a python loose is not akin to flushing a dead gold fish down the tube. But flushing live predator fish should face the same penalty as the reptile release.

We already have harmed our environment with foreign species, both plant and animal.

None native fish, in particular, can be destructive to a fishery and whole water system. Others, like trout, can be beneficial.

Something is going to have to give way and make room for the Python.

Wonder how long before non native venomous species get a foot hold. Hunting for Jararacusu or Cobras in the Glades, or Bayou could be exciting.

July 27, 2009, 12:16 AM
Ka-Nobby, Yeah you bring good points. But there is no beneficial invasive specie.
I hate the risk of a "bounty" program but without it, we will ot stop the issue!
Send peta a copy of the bill with an order to stop their tactics until bill is paid! Toodles bunny kickingtree huggers!

July 27, 2009, 01:34 AM
Ka-Nobby, Yeah you bring good points. But there is no beneficial invasive specie.
I hate the risk of a "bounty" program but without it, we will ot stop the issue!
Send peta a copy of the bill with an order to stop their tactics until bill is paid! Toodles bunny kickingtree huggers!

A news piece said that a licensed reptile keeper lost his snakes in a hurricane and that's what accounted for the problem.

Cheat grass is an invasive species out West. The Chukar partridge was introduced in Nevada in the late 1930's and by the late '50's had thrived on Cheat grass, while competing little with natives species for food. Done properly, some introduction of foreign species can fill a niche. Unfortunately, that's not how it normally works out.

July 27, 2009, 05:28 AM
There was an old woman who swallowed a fly...

Non native and feral animals should be killed on sight; even if hunting will not be enough to completely solve the problem, it is a step in the right direction unlike releasing another invasive species to deal with the original.

Art Eatman
July 27, 2009, 07:34 AM
Lord only knows how much public money is already being spent dealing with certain "pets". Now, the snakes and big lizards in Florida. Previously, the publicity was mostly about big cats. Not just tax dollars, but also donations to "sanctuaries" which kind-hearted folks operate to care for the now-unwanted pets.

If you read about the trade in exotics, you tend to come away with the idea of, "No exotics except in sanctioned zoos." The mortality rate from the beginning hunt effort at capture to the actual delivery of a healthy "pet" seems to run as high as 90%. (That's about the same as the rescue efforts of whitetail deer in the Everglades, some thirty years ago.)

Regardless, a ban only deals with what might happen. Some form of hunt is an effort to deal with the reality of today, not the "maybe" of tomorrow.

Uncle Buck
July 27, 2009, 09:08 AM
I do not understand. The ones that are there can stay there, but no new ones can be imported...
The ones that are there have obviously started to breed. They do need to be stopped. A bounty will help with that.

Look at the brown snake problem in Guam... Total chaos.
Look at the cane toad problem in (?) Australia... Total chaos.

This was done before people understood the impact non-native species could have on the environment.

July 27, 2009, 09:24 AM
:D Kill 'em all and let the big guy sort 'em out!

I live here in Florida and these "wild" or released constrictors are in the news everyday. Bottom line is they don't belong in our eco system and are really reaking havoc on our natural wildlife.

When they had the first legal hunt for them a couple weeks back, they found a huge one in just the first ten minutes of searching!! This really shocked officials involved as they thought it would take a long time to find one.

I realize you can't get all of them but we need to at least give it our best effort and eradicate everyone we can find (especially the larger snakes) so the gators can eat the smaller ones in the meantime before they too get big. Problem is, you can only trap them in the winter time when they are easier to locate (lay in the sun). It will take some time "to take them out" but at least we can make a pretty good dent in the population if we start now and keep at it. Also, make it a huge fine if you are ever caught setting them free in the wild. Have an official place to take them where they can be terminated..........

July 27, 2009, 09:40 AM
FWC trapper just caught a 14ft boa or python (can't remember which) here in Manatee county this weekend. They said it was big enough to easily swallow a small child.

July 27, 2009, 10:49 AM
Python are here to stay. Unfortunately.

Another invasive that HAS turned put ok is the pheasant

Brian Pfleuger
July 27, 2009, 10:59 AM
A contest between adults might be interesting.

Like this?


July 27, 2009, 11:01 AM
Yes Uncle, it's cane toads in Australia. And foxes, cats, dogs, pigs, goats, donkeys, camels, buffalo, scrub-bulls, etc. etc.; even deer in Westoz
OK, it's grist to the shooter's mill, as long as he/she can handle culling.
That's the unique thing about recreational hunting in Australia. We can offer a contribution to the community. Pity more can't see that.
For gosh sakes go deal with those snakes folks. Impress on your people what will happen if the animal rights nutters had their way.:mad:
I've heard that melaleucas from Australia are threatening the Everglades. I'm really saddened to hear that. They're a wonderful tree...in Australia! :(

July 27, 2009, 11:27 AM
It may take some years but wait till these big snakes get up into georgia ,alabama and over to LA . It will happen if not allready there but people dumping them . Does any ont remember the heavy rains and deer starve'n in the everglades some decades back??? Maybe 25 years ago. Tree huggers wanted to stop a control hunt to reduce the deer herds to a controlable size that could th F&G could feed and the state finally got them huggers were they would try to save deer on the north side on gator alley and the hunt would go under way on the south side. All the deer caught on the north side died from shock and the hunter deduced herd on the south side made it tell dry season came around.Damd treehugger/peta types....

July 27, 2009, 12:59 PM
They get to be 17 feet?! Hmmmmm..... Let's see - " say honey, how'd you like to vacation in the Everglades next summer? "Go over and pet that nice snake!!!":D:D:D

July 27, 2009, 01:48 PM

Might be I was misunderstood. Not supporting the extreamist at HSUS only making the point that even those crazies said it would not work.

We need a open season, much as with gators and the licence fees will pay for a lot of the costs associated with running it.

July 27, 2009, 01:58 PM
Almost fogot. Someone mentioned traps and that has me thinking.

A number of years back we would hunt Cumberland Island. At some point the Univ. Of Ga. had released a number of bobcats on the island. The had a ongoing monitoring program with many of the cats tagged and collored.

Part of the program required them to trap the animals, measure, weigh and the like and then replace the batteries in the collars. We would sometimes stumble across the traps while hunting.

As I understand it a bobcat is a tough animal to live trap. The UG folks got around this by using a trap that had a live chicken in it as bait. The chicken was in a small cage inside the trap. They seemed to work good.

Seems like with a little American ingenuity a trap that will capture a BIG snake can be devised.

July 27, 2009, 02:31 PM
BSWIV, the trap condition you are thinking of probably wouldn't work for snakes. Bobcats hunt by moving until they find something edible. Snakes tend to be ambushers that wait for prey to walk by them.

The most talked about trapping mechanism so far has been using sex pheremones. During breeding, one snake will follow the scent of another. If you could bottle that up and make a trail for them to follow into a trap, you might have something.

guns and more
July 27, 2009, 02:43 PM
Let's import the mongoose and turn them loose in the 'glades.

July 27, 2009, 02:49 PM

You made my point well: that there are a lot of knowledgable folks out there that if allowed would come up with some great ideas........

Pharamones......now there is a idea.......

July 27, 2009, 03:14 PM
Actually snake trapping is a common method for many species. I have seen documentaries that show them using box traps baited with various items.

When junior was a young teen he worked unofficially for his favorite reptile shop. When the occasional escape occurred, they had a box with a hole small enuff for the snake to enter but once it ate the bait rat it couldn't fit to leave...

July 27, 2009, 03:16 PM
bswiv, I wasn't trying to imply you were on there side... Simply that they are not correct about it not working. They are simply trying to ban the importation to further their no pets agenda not to protect the eco system.

August 1, 2009, 07:59 PM
other than spaying cats, the Humane Society has not had a cogent thought regarding animals in probably 50 years.

August 1, 2009, 08:18 PM


Staff at the Okeechobee Veterinary Hospital routinely handle large animals. Along with pet dogs and cats, they treat hogs, horses, cows and bulls.

But the enormous critter that slithered uninvited onto the hospital grounds Thursday stunned everyone. It turned out to be one of the biggest Burmese pythons found roaming free in Florida.

The constrictor stretched 17 feet, two inches and measured 26 inches around at its thickest point. It weighed in at a staggering 207 pounds -- four pounds more than the Miami Dolphins' brawny No. 1 draft pick, Vontae Davis.

``It was a complete shock,'' said Patty Harvey, a technician at the hospital, which is just north of Lake Okeechobee. ``We see huge gators all the time being in Okeechobee, but you would never expect to see a snake this size.''


Florida wildlife managers pointed to the find as the latest, and largest, evidence that the exotic snake, which has settled into the Everglades, is spreading across the state.

``The capture of this large python shows us how well these snakes can thrive in the wild and create a dangerous situation after illegal release or escape,'' said Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. ``It also illustrates why the FWC is partnering with other agencies to implement python control measures in South Florida.''

Two weeks ago, the FWC began an experimental permit program that allows reptile experts to euthanize Burmese pythons on state-managed lands around the Everglades, where the population is now estimated to number in the tens of thousands.

But the python patrol didn't bag the giant snake that made its way onto the hospital's 20-acre compound.

It was spotted Thursday afternoon by Corey Surls, 11, whose uncle, veterinarian Jim Harvey, owns the hospital.

The boy spends a lot of time on the grounds and overheard construction workers, who are building an addition to the hospital, talk about a large snake they had seen in a ditch, Harvey said. ``He runs over there and looks into the ditch and, lo and behold.''

Corey told WPBF in West Palm Beach that he was scared at first but, pointing to a cousin who went along, said ``I was on the other side of the fence, so I knew it was going to get him first.''

He alerted his uncle. The veterinarian killed the snake with head shots from a .22 caliber rifle, Harvey said.

Though it is illegal to shoot pythons in state wildlife management areas or federal lands, the FWC says the snakes can be legally shot on private property if local laws allow gunuse.

Afterward, the staff, still in hospital attire, posed for what Harvey called a ``once-in-a-lifetime'' photo.

It took eight of them to hold the snake. Harvey is third from left, grimacing.

``I am petrified of snakes,'' she said. ``It was still moving. I guess their muscles move for a while even after they're dead.''

As one of the largest snakes in the world, sometimes topping 20 feet, Burmese pythons are considered a serious threat to native species. Everything from deer hooves to endangered rats has been pulled from their bellies.

Nothing discernible was found in this python's stomach, and Harvey said none of the animals on the hospital's sprawling grounds were missing.


Wildlife officers scanned for a microchip, required for pets under state law since 2007, but found nothing.

Harvey said the meat was donated to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation facility, a fitting turn of the table that will let natives fatten up on an invader.

The future of the skin remains uncertain, though Harvey admitted female staffers were joking it would make a lot of nice purses.
Anyone care to take a guess why it was near a vet clinic?:D
I wouldn't wanna srap with that by myself!