Okay, writing as a long time lover of snakes - who dabbled in herpetology when he wasn't doing astrophysics, I applaud the decision of The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to advertise for python bounty hunters! I mean, we can't have these 15'-17' long varmints gobbling up most of the gators in the Everglades, as well as other native wildlife.
Right now, conservative estimates put the Burmese python total at about 30,000. In other words, the critters are over running the Glades. Worse than that, the pythons seem to grow even larger than they would in their normal environs because there've been no predators to keep 'em under control. Until now, that is!
The FFWCC is offering $25 each per python brought in, dead or alive, but preferably dead. The offer has so far drawn some 800-plus bounty hunters with their assorted arsenals. The Commission disallows use of any rocket propelled grenade launchers or even AR-15s, Bushmaster .223s etc. They demand "safe caliber" weapons to be used only - after all we don't want a bunch of these bounty hunters killing each other!
The suggested modus operandi is to use a device called a "captive bolt". You can also shoot it at close range in the head using say a Remington 30.06 - the favorite of snipers and most normal hunters (who don't need multiple -clip magazines to kill a deer). Of course, since you are going to have to kill the snake - and hitting it in the head is the best way - you will need to get up close to it to get off your round. Recommended distance is 6'- 10'. Oh, you can also use a machete, but the Commission demands the machete kill be done in a humane fashion. You cannot go off hacking repeatedly at the poor snake's head . You get one blow - knock it out and kill it.
The Commissions's Ethical Guidelines clearly state all bounty hunters have "an ethical obligation to ensure a Burmese python is killed in a humane manner.”
Now, the hunt will go on through Feb. 10 and all are welcomed to join in. Special prizes include:
- a $1,500 prize to whoever kills the most pythons
- $1,000 for whoever kills the longest python
It appears to be a great way for any gun owner in FLA to make some extra money. Leave out the big prizes, if he's determined and knocks off just 100 of the beasts he can pocket $2, 500. I'd actually join the hunt if Florida wasn't so distant. But I reckon by the time I paid air fare there and back I'd probably have to knock off at least 50 of the critters, and I'm not sure I could do that at this stage. Besides, I'd have to purchase a weapon and the airlines won't let me take my machete.
Any of you living close to the Florida Everglades, here's your chance to earn some dough!