Photo — National Park Service: A Burmese python is seen in a tree in the Everglades National Park.
Ditch the Deer, Moose and Bear Hunting and Try Bagging One of These Slithery Creatures Instead
If you're a deer hunter that's looking for something to do between now and the start of deer season this fall, the Everglades National Park is allowing state-contracted python hunters onto its federal lands to find and kill the invasive Burmese python.
Despite efforts to remove pythons from the area for years, the snakes are ravaging the park’s wildlife populations, Grand View Outdoors reports.
Pedro Ramos, superintendent of Everglades National Park, said of the decision, “we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve realized that this is a significant problem that requires us to be open-minded and flexible in the way that we approach it. The giant snakes have turned up in Key Largo and on an island in Biscayne Bay, which means they’re swimming significant distances in salty water.
Native animals continue to disappear at an alarming rate and pythons are dueling alligators for supremacy atop the Everglades food chain.
"If you’re a hunter in the U.S., seriously considering helping Florida out. You might feel a bit discouraged when you read the requirements. You must have some python-hunting experience if you expect to be hired. Still, if you’re an out-of-state hunter who’s retired or has some time to chase an adventure, you could potentially move down to Florida and bag three pythons and you’ll be eligible!
Before you apply, you MUST:
- Have captured and removed at least three Burmese pythons from the Everglades ecosystem while working under a valid FWC Python Removal permit, as an Everglades National Park Authorized Agent or from private lands with landowner permission — pythons removed from private lands must be documented by photographs and must have been euthanized at the time and site of capture or deposited with the FWC.
- Have no violations on any FWC issued permits or other animal-related citations.
- Have sufficient time to conduct self-directed surveys using the predetermined routes and to efficiently respond to survey requests.
- Possess personal communication capabilities, including a cellphone and valid email.
- Assume personal liability for health, welfare and safety of themselves and anyone assisting them.
- Project a positive image at all times.
What does it pay?
Contractors will be paid monthly by the FWC for python removal efforts based on hourly rates ($8.25/hour for surveys conducted on Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA and Everglades National Park; $15/hour for surveys conducted on Holey Land, Rotenberger, Big Cypress and Picayune Strand WMAs and $15/hour for responding to survey requests).
Contractors also will be paid $200 for removal of each active python nest that has been field verified by FWC.
For all submitted pythons, the FWC will make an additional payment per python of $50 for pythons measuring up to 4 feet, and an extra $25 for every foot measured above 4 feet (see the illustration at the link below).
For more information on how to submit the information or to learn more about becoming a contracted python hunter, click here.