Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hunting season

Squirrel season for me ends at the end of February. With spring it becomes harder and harder to find legal game to hunt. If I could keep the birds out and car hawk, we could hunt sparrows and starlings from the car, but they are being fed up in hopes that they will be struck with the mood for romance. I'll be opening their cages to provide them access to each other in the next couple of days.

In Florida (for good or bad), they have opened up the season on a new game species: Python.

Florida has set March 8 through April 17 as a special python-hunting season in an attempt to control several species of invasive reptiles, which are wreaking havoc on the south Florida ecosystem.

Species to be targeted include Indian and Burmese pythons (Python molurus and P.m. bivittatus ), African rock pythons (P. sebae ), green anacondas (Eunectes murinus ) and Nile monitor lizards (Varanus niloticus ).

The animals have all been labeled " reptiles of concern " by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). It hopes the hunt will help control the eight-meter-long Burmese python, in particular, which has spread out of control throughout the state with populations growing into the thousands since the snakes first escaped from cages[?? FROM THE ZOO?; PET SHOPS?] during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The whole article is from Scientific American.

Yes, wild pythons in Florida have bee talked about quite a bit lately. But much of the science in estimating their numbers is shaky, so how big a problem they are is debatable.

I lived on the edges of the everglades when I was younger. We even had a good size python living in my house while I was there. It wasn't mine, but we had it for a couple of months. I can see how pythons could be successful in that environment. Those Muscovy ducks are everywhere.
If they want to open a hunting season - great! I have no problem with that - as long as the hunters can accurately identify what they are killing. Way too often I see people indiscriminately killing snakes, simply because they are snakes, with no idea what species they are.

Good luck to Florida - any you guys who live down there - let me know how it turns out.


Albert A Rasch said...

Hey Doug,

I've been wondering the same thing... I once had to intervene as a construction worker tried unsuccessfully to chase down and kill an indigo snake. I caught him and the snake and threatened every last one of them with summary firings if even one snake was harmed on my jobsite.

I hope folks work on a slot type of limit like when we fish. Say, if it is over six foot and doesn't have a rattle you can take it. That should limit the number of misidentified snakes killed!

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.

Doug said...

I agree - If there were a way to rule out most other snakes, that would be helpful. I don't have great faith in most snake identification. Around here - everyone thinks every snake is a water moccasin until proven otherwise. It does get frustrating. It's good to see you posting again Albert.