Tennessee Resident Wins $10,000 Prize The Thrilling World of Sunshine State Snake Hunting

Tennessee Resident Wins $10,000 Prize: The Thrilling World of Sunshine State Snake Hunting

Some people will jump at the chance to go snake hunting in the outdoors. Paul Hobbs was destined for this.

Taking his father, son, and brother-in-law to the Sunshine State last year, the Tennessee resident caught 20 Burmese pythons to take home the $10,000 grand prize in the Florida Python Challenge. Hobbs and his father Tom, who won the novice category in the event—one of the ones that helps spread awareness of harmful invasive species and eradicate them from areas—started the family tradition.

Adrenaline rushes in the instant you spot one. You’re all getting out of the car and ready to go,” Hobbs said to Local 10 News.

Throughout the ten-day hunt, almost 200 snakes were apprehended and killed. Each may deposit up to one hundred eggs. Nearly 20,000 pythons have been captured in Florida since 2000; but, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimates that up to 300,000 of them reside in the Everglades.

“It becomes the top of the food chain,” said Ron Bergeron, a member of the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District. “We have discovered up to a seven-foot alligator within a python, including an entire deer.

“These things can get up to 20 feet long and up to 200 pounds…” Since 2017, the Miami Herald reports, contractors hired by the state to hunt pythons have eliminated 11,000 of the animals; nonetheless, a U.S. Geological Survey report deemed eradication “likely impossible.”

“Apex predators,” said McKayla Spencer, coordinator of nonnative fish and animals for the FWC, to the publication. Basically, nothing at all preys on them after they reach adulthood.

“We have made some tremendous progress in the past few years, but we still don’t know how to completely eradicate them. Removed pythons mean fewer of them to threaten our natural species.”

Participants in the competition have to finish a training course. If they kill a native snake or a python inhumanely, they are disqualified. In Florida, Burmese pythons and other invasive species feed on gopher tortoises, white ibises, marsh rabbits, Key Largo woodrats, and American alligators.

A 2 million-acre subtropical wetland, the Everglades formerly had continuously flowing water across a nearly four-fold larger area. This project is one among many being undertaken to bring back some of its natural splendor, along with a $1 billion Kissimmee River restoration project.

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