Python hunting season begins in South Florida
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Groups of hunters scoured the swamp for a predatory reptiles that are feared to have been decimating wildlife in the area.
Hunters from 32 states and Canada have registered for the 30-day Everglades Python Hunt. "If they'd told me 10-15 years ago, you're going to be cruising this road for Burmese pythons, I would've been like, 'You're crazy, no way,'" said Ruben Ramirez.
Ramirez and his friend spent the weekend hunting Burmese pythons in the Everglades. "I would catch one time a week, give it an all day thing," he said. "Now, I'm catching about three a week in a year's time."
Ramirez is one of several hunters in Florida hunting pythons. It's all part of the 2013 python challenge to trim the population of the invasive species, which have no natural predators and can grow up to 25 feet long.
Whoever brings in the longest python will get a $1,000 prize. The person to catch the most pythons will receive a $1,500 reward. The hunt is sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Dennis Jordan snagged a 12-foot snake about 20 miles south of Holiday Park. "We spent a lot of time out here in the Everglades, me and my buddies," he said. "We hunt alligators on a regular basis for years, but we've never seen a snake that big out here."
The hunting season lasts until Feb. 10.
Since 2010 it has been illegal to buy, sell or breed pythons in Florida without a permit.
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