As you may have seen in the media proper, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, attempting to do something about the Burmese python invasion in the Everglades, decided that anybody with $25 to spare can register to hunt pythons in designated areas between January 12 and February 10, complete with cash prizes for the killing of the biggest “burm” (hunt lingo for an individual Burmese python) and for most total burms killed. The FTLC loves the Everglades ecosystem almost as much as it loves local insanity so we were into the Python Challenge 110%.
Saturday morning there was a Python Challenge kick-off orientation and press conference at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie. Here’s a guy from the Wildlife Commission (I think) speaking to the press:
We realized we were the loudest animals in the area and the only chance we had of seeing a large predator was if it decided to attack us. But we did come across one non-aggressive looking snake (not a python):
After going maybe 150 yards in 1/2 hour it became clear this was not the way to find pythons. Back at the car we re-read our Python Challenge material and discussed various YouTube python videos and decided the best bet was to stick to the roads ontop of the levees, as pythons are most often spotted near the canals, sunning on the sides of the levees, or on the roads themselves. We then fashioned a strategy where one of us would drive really slow while the other would pretend he was an armed camouflaged local celebrity sitting on the top of the back seat of a convertible parade car and scan the sides of the levees. This was our python hunting parade car:
We killed no pythons but no pythons killed us, so that is why we call it a draw. Good luck to all the python hunters throughout the month. The FTLC is ambivalent about a hype-filled slaughter of anything, but considering what pythons are doing to the Everglades, hype it up and hunt safely (and kill those unholy serpents).