Florida python-killing contest

Extended discussion forum.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2249
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » December 9th, 2012, 5:59 pm

So why feed the blood lust that the snake killing public already has?

The python hunting event will do exactly that. I don't want any part of it. The whole vibe of the thing is distasteful. The pythons didn't ask to be there. I don't have a problem with the idea of them being humanely euthanized...but I have a big problem with it being done with a circus-like, celebratory atmosphere. It is disrespectful to the sanctity of life. When circumstances dictate that an animal's life be taken for the greater good of the ecosystem, it should be done respectfully.

I also feel that the cost is going to greatly outweigh the benefit for the native snakes. No good can come from inviting lots of people who enjoy killing snakes to an area where there are lots of snakes.

User avatar
Daryl Eby
Posts: 963
Joined: June 27th, 2010, 12:27 pm
Location: Terlingua / Marfa, Texas
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Daryl Eby » December 9th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Your kung-foo is strong Tamara. I still lean toward supporting this event (and plan to judge it on the merits after the fact). However, you make some very compelling arguments. It certainly did not help that some of the news reports announcing it went WAY overboard on cheering the killing of snakes. I think much of the negative reaction is more toward that than against the actual design and intent of the event.

User avatar
Andy Avram
Posts: 897
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Andy Avram » December 9th, 2012, 6:28 pm

To be honest I haven't read all the rules on what participants can and cannot do in this situation, but overall I am for ANY measures to remove ANY invasive species. Pythons, unlike hogs (which many areas have active hog killing measures, Ohio, for example), are relatively easy to get someone trained and in the field working towards eradication. It really takes nothing more than a set of eyes and a big knife. Additionally, being large, slow animals lends themselves to targeted eradication measures.

The idea I always thought could work, although I find no fault in what is being done currently.
I help out in the Lake Erie Water Snake census every year. We are organized into volunteer teams of 4-6, usually two teams per day. People can come for a day or a few days, but the event is held for two weeks. And a lot of ground is covered and a lot of snakes are found. I think that something similar, with teams going to certain parts of the glades for a day or two, over the course of a few weeks, and a real dent in the python population could be made. This would mean support from the National Park so people can be taken into the interior of the park, or to high snake density areas.

Regardless, anytime active invasive species measures are taken I view it as a good thing.

Andy

User avatar
VanAR
Posts: 590
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:36 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by VanAR » December 9th, 2012, 6:49 pm

Lurking on this for a while. I'm a little skeptical of the event because of the risks of misidentification. I have no problems euthanizing an invasive organism, but I also think that the risks may outweigh the benefits in this scenario. Also, the cat, feral pig, etc. examples are relevant in another context aside from the idea that they are arguably doing the most damage and should be the first priority. Though I will never disagree with someone who proclaims that invasive species are harmful to an existing ecosystem, I also think that in this point in history they are largely something you just have to accept. I find it incredibly unlikely that even the best conservation efforts will ever return any system in north america to a pre-columbian status. Removing one invasive species, even if it were possible (which I doubt), isn't going to make much of a difference when there are so many others present (especially in south Florida, and not to mention climate change, habitat fragmentation, etc.). It does strike me as more of a feel-good measure rather than something that will have real results.

In fact, instead of advocating for invasive species control, I think it would be better to use them as evolutionary test tubes. It amazes me that ecologists are not flocking to south Florida to use it as a field site for in situ tests of the "rules" of community assemblage, which have so often been done in meso/microcosms using microbes, insects, etc. Here, you have (almost) a completely artificial system, with organisms from around the globe suddenly thrown into a relatively small area. How do they compete? How do they evolve? What kind of food webs arise? Conservationists will say that these invasive events reduce local biodiversity- that may be so in the short term, but do we see novel adaptive radiations in the long-term aftermath? I highly doubt the world is going to be turned into a giant monoculture.

I dunno, maybe I'm too much of a cynic/realist, but I think pandora's box is opened, and all we can do is make the best of a bad situation. Also, much of the habitat these things inhabit is predicted to be flooded by sea level rises in the next century or so. Assuming they can't migrate north with climate changes, they're going to be flooded out by sea water anyway (along with all of the native species).

Van

User avatar
Andy Avram
Posts: 897
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Andy Avram » December 9th, 2012, 7:07 pm

VAn, sometimes I agree with your thoughts, but then I think about some of the species that were driven to extinction in this country, and beyond, some of which are incredibly abundant animals, think Passenger Pigeon. Or animals that were effectively killed off of huge swaths of their former range; Mountain Lion, Wolves, Elk, Bison, etc... When I think about this I realize it is mostly a matter of figuring out that key element to a species survival and doing what you can to eliminate it, be it habitat or targeting it during a key part of it's life. I bet you find that thing and some of these invasive species can realistically be eradicated. Granted, one of the things that makes invasive species successful in novel environments is their adaptability, but still... can it hurt to try thing?

User avatar
VanAR
Posts: 590
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:36 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by VanAR » December 9th, 2012, 7:18 pm

When I think about this I realize it is mostly a matter of figuring out that key element to a species survival and doing what you can to eliminate it, be it habitat or targeting it during a key part of it's life. I bet you find that thing and some of these invasive species can realistically be eradicated. Granted, one of the things that makes invasive species successful in novel environments is their adaptability, but still... can it hurt to try thing?
What about the native species that also rely on that particular habitat/resource? BTW, non of your examples are as cryptic as a burmese python, as fecund as a feral hog, or as generalist as a house cat. None of these species take advantage of some resource that was previously untapped (though that argument could be made for sparrows/starlings and nesting structure) they simply are slightly more efficient at turning those resources into offspring than are the native species they outcompete.

User avatar
Andy Avram
Posts: 897
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:37 am
Location: NE Ohio

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Andy Avram » December 9th, 2012, 7:25 pm

Depends on what the habitat is. I am not advocating widespread destruction of natural habitat, but for example, say invasive bird species (House Sparrows, European Starlings, Rock Pigeons) make up 90%+ of the birds nesting on man-made homes and bridges (again this is a made-up example) then eliminating (by excluders or some other means) their nesting habitats may effectively drive populations of those birds down. I wish I could give better invasive herp species examples, but here in Ohio, we don't have too many to concern ourselves with.

User avatar
BillMcGighan
Posts: 2308
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by BillMcGighan » December 9th, 2012, 8:02 pm

It's obvious that there are some very good people on both sides of this issue. I doubt if those who strongly feel one way will change the minds of those feel the other.

I have to agree with Phil in that the contest is probably not a good application of an official NAFHA outing.



Though the potential "circus", because of the contest, is yet to play out, hunting these animals is not that new and the concept has been pioneered with gator hunts.


For what it's worth, some off line discussions made me feel it should be said that this is NOT in the national park but in Wildlife Management Areas that share these general rules:
Licensed hunters are allowed to take Conditional Reptiles incidental to lawful hunting activities during established hunting seasons. Conditional reptiles shall not be transported alive from the area. Please report all take of Conditional Reptiles at 866-392-4286 or at MyFWC.com.
Conditional reptiles season:
March 4 through April 14
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements- Hunting license and management area permit
Legal to Hunt- Conditional Reptiles: Indian python, Burmese python, reticulated python, Northern African/rock python, Southern African python, amethystine python, scrub python, green anaconda and Nile monitor.
Regulations Unique to Conditional Reptiles Season- In addition to these regulations, all General Area Regulations shall apply.
1. Conditional Reptiles shall not be removed from the area alive.
2. Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
3. Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset.
Ref: http://myfwc.com/hunting/wma-brochures

joeysgreen
Posts: 523
Joined: June 11th, 2010, 8:09 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by joeysgreen » December 9th, 2012, 9:42 pm

I don't have any references, but have seen it brought up many times on this forum that there have been a good number of studies and strong anectodal evidence that all shows burmese pythons to have a negative affect on a lot of mammalian species (albiet some of them also being invasives).

Pythons in Florida is certainly not the priority that the media makes it out to be, nor are they the biggest environmental threat down there. Nonetheless, just because there is larger problems to solve, IMO it doesn't hurt to take on a task like this too. Whether this is the best way to tackle the FLA burm problem or not, well, I'm no authority on it. I do think it's the best option brought up so far though and it has some good potential (in my opinion of course :) )

Ian

[edit] missed page two entirely, sorry guys :sleep:

Lloyd Heilbrunn
Posts: 282
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 7:15 pm
Location: Palm Beach Gardens, Fl

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » December 9th, 2012, 9:50 pm

Whatever miniscule chance this had of being a good idea was precluded by ENP being excluded....

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 9th, 2012, 9:50 pm

A significant number of the participants of this event are doing to kill any native snakes they come across.

I can see the thread now, and the pics.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 9th, 2012, 10:09 pm

Never underestimate the backfiring power of an unwholesome Tone. Or the power of Wanting To have A Good Time.

User avatar
regalringneck
Posts: 562
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:20 am

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by regalringneck » December 10th, 2012, 10:15 am

... im also in the "this is gonna turn out bad" school of thought, especially considering, as several have stated; it wont solve the problem, That coupled w/ the desire of un-educates to whack snakes ... in fact ill predict this is going 2make the rattlesnake republic thing look like an Attenborough documentary by comparison ... haha not : {
Pity Florida cant just have these ku-kluxers roll around in coon scent & then wrestle w/ the pythons to see who can pin who ...

... mebbe this will state it better ... :p

Image

User avatar
dery
Posts: 1793
Joined: October 1st, 2011, 11:01 am
Location: huntsville

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by dery » December 10th, 2012, 10:25 am

Invasive species killing should be left to the park services and such of the area.

User avatar
chris_mcmartin
Posts: 2432
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
Location: Greater Houston TX Area
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by chris_mcmartin » December 10th, 2012, 12:34 pm

dery wrote:Invasive species killing should be left to the park services and such of the area.

Because they've proven so good at it up to this point... :P


I'm still on the fence regarding this endeavor.

On the one hand, there would be a great advantage in leveraging the manpower afforded by properly trained, competent citizens to help with the problem. To those who say it won't make a dent in the population of FL burms, let's watch and see what happens...science is about experimentation, right?

On the other hand, yes, there exists a possibility of participants culling other snake species. Again, if we're saying participants won't make a dent in the burm problem, how much of a dent will they make in non-target species populations? Given that other species are "bycatch" they should (in theory) represent a small proportion of total snakes killed. Will that number be comparable to the number incidentally taken (e.g. roadkill)? Will that number be less than one good hurricane plowing through the area?

I'm more inclined to support the effort for at least this initial period and see the results, good and bad. Adjust and press on from there. Perhaps if it works well in the designated WMAs, it could be extended to ENP where it could potentially make a bigger impact. (Maybe that's the plan?)

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 10th, 2012, 12:41 pm

ob•tuse
/əbˈt(y)o͞os/
Adjective
1. Annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand.
2. Difficult to understand.


Synonyms
dull - blunt - dense - slow-witted


***********************************************************************************************************************


The goal of this particular exercise is to raise public awareness of the problem caused by Burms having being released into the wilds of S Florida.

This particular exercise does NOT have the goal of influencing the demographics of this population.




**Presumably, organizers are interested to see if they get enough hunter interest to be able to use hunters in any future Burm-management effort. Public hunts have been successfully integrated into some invasive-species management campaigns.

**No doubt, organizers are very interested in getting people to not release pets to the wild.

**Everglades NP is not hosting this public hunt because NPS has a no-hunting policy, agency-wide. NPS, as an agency, hires plenty of animal-management talent, in-house and under contract, and some of that management is terminal. But public hunts on a park unit? Forget it, it's a non-issue. Just drop it.

**FWC has as part of its mission the development and deployment of public outdoor recreation opportunities. The pythons are there. Some people want to hunt them. Why not? Pythons definitely qualify as interesting big game. Just get over it already, people.

**As for non-target impacts - surely there will be a little. They're trying to minimize it, exactly as is done with all well-managed hunting and fishing. Demanding absolutely zero is an unrealistic and unnecessary standard in the real world.



Unrealistic, obtuse people have NO CREDIBILITY and develop NO INFLUENCE in the real world, folks. Chew on that and see if the flavor comes through. If you want to develop influence from a starting position of "don't have any", if you want to be credible, you gotta get real first.

Jimi

User avatar
Phil Peak
Posts: 523
Joined: June 20th, 2010, 7:17 am
Location: Kentucky
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 10th, 2012, 1:36 pm

I agree that hunting will never occur in the National Park due to regulatory red tape. In Kentucky they are not even allowed to hunt the environmentally destructive wild hogs within State Nature Preserves. They have gone as far as flushing them out with hellicopters and shooting them once they are off the preserve grounds.

Phil

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 10th, 2012, 3:54 pm

For an interesting treatment of the evolution-slash-continuity of NPS policy, see this: http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/20 ... lenges9441

Phil, I'm not following you on the KY example - are you discussing NPS' or some state agency's ("State Nature Preserve") feral hog or hunting or hog hunting policy? Or is it the case that NPS manages some or all KySNP's??? Because, in the main, anything NPS says - stops at their property line.

Also, just fyi, there are many NPS installations that aggressively manage feral hogs due to the impossibility of simultaneously harboring hogs and meeting their mission ("to conserve, unimpaired, for future generations").

Finally, recreational hunting of hogs has never to my knowledge been effective at suppressing them. You have to maintain at least an annual mortality rate of ~45-50% just to stay in place, let alone knock them down. Something like a sustained (multi-year) annual kill rate over 75% is required to drive them to extinction. This which I shared recently http://www.issg.org/pdf/publications/Is ... asives.pdf and also this http://www.issg.org/pdf/publications/tu ... e_tide.pdf (which is a predecessor of the first) have good info on managing hogs & many other invasives on islands, which after all any nature preserve is, sort of.

Thus, not allowing recreational hog hunting probably isn't actually a mission-impairment risk for a nature preserve, no matter who owns it. If you want to seriously deal with hogs, you just gotta go pro. Not in-house either, but contract. "You have one job and one job only - kill hogs." If you try to get the same guys who scrub the toilets and collect the user fees to also whack the hogs - it just doesn't work. Waste of time and PR.

If you have a specific "mainland" reserve in mind for help with hogs - probably the first thing they need is a full-perimeter hog fence, and cattle guards on the road entrances (to make the preserve "an island").

This is what I found in a 10-second search for info on KySNP's: http://naturepreserves.ky.gov/naturepre ... erves.aspx


**********************

Not picking on Phil whatsoever here, and not limiting what I'm going to say to this string - rather, making a generalized observation simply prompted by this string: I find quite often here that people have a pretty poor understanding of the way various governmental-environmental pieces fit together (or don't). Granted, developing an understanding of this topic goes well beyond basic civics. But, poor understanding coupled with boundless assumptions and often with harshly critical temperaments combine to form some of the most ridiculous garbage available on the internet - right here on FHF. Niiice. If we could improve our understanding, limit our assumptions, and just mellow out on the quick-draw criticality, I think this would be a kinder, gentler place for discourse.

Or, we can just keep on with the throw-down. It's dumber than dogshit but hey, apparently it's a good time for some folks.

Jimi

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by hellihooks » December 10th, 2012, 5:29 pm

While I usually try to objectively weigh 'pro's and con's' ... this speaks to my core values, so logic will have to take a back seat to TWSS... :)
Tamara D. McConnell wrote:
I don't want any part of it. The whole vibe of the thing is distasteful. The pythons didn't ask to be there. I don't have a problem with the idea of them being humanely euthanized...but I have a big problem with it being done with a circus-like, celebratory atmosphere. It is disrespectful to the sanctity of life. When circumstances dictate that an animal's life be taken for the greater good of the ecosystem, it should be done respectfully.

User avatar
Scott Waters
Site Admin
Posts: 683
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:08 am
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Scott Waters » December 10th, 2012, 6:24 pm

Calling out the internet. Awesome. LOL

scott

User avatar
Phil Peak
Posts: 523
Joined: June 20th, 2010, 7:17 am
Location: Kentucky
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 10th, 2012, 6:41 pm

Jimi,

You may have misunderstood me. I wasn't referring to recreational hunting but rather extermination by state agencies. The guy that conducts these measures for KDFWR's is a friend of ours so I have good insight on how its done. Unlike some states, KY has decided to not list the hog as a game species and there is no open season. It was determined that a better approach would be to solve this problem internally (primarily with traps) instead of encouraging further introductions by having a season.

As it is, all wildlife (invasive or not) within the confines of KSNP's are protected with no provisions made at the present for eradicating the hogs. Thus they are flushed out via helicopter and shot once they leave the nature preserve. Not sure how business is conducted in other National Parks but in ours, Mammoth Cave NP, no killing of any wildlife other than fish is allowed. Perhaps this is different from one NP to the next.

Now, back to the snake rodeo. You're going to find that there are people, myself and others that are simply not going to agree with you. In particular I find the part "to raise public awareness" to be void of merit completely. Do you really think the public is not already aware that there are free ranging pythons in south FL? So do you really think these pythons are the result of people releasing their pets in the Glades? This has got to be the worst theory of all. Seed populations planted by reptile dealers perhaps. Fall out from the carnage wrought by hurricane Andrew on the reptile importers/ wholesalers likely. But someone taking the trouble to drive their unwanted pet to south FL?, no, I'm not buying that one. Maybe all these public awareness efforts would be better served by educating locals on our native species and why its not such a good idea to kill every one they see. And it "does not have the goal of influencing the demographics of this population"? Then why the hell are they even bothering? This whole project is just goofy.

This whole thing just makes my head spin. There are literally 100's if not 1,000's of invasive species in FL and the one that attracts the attention of the people with an interest in herps is the large constricting snake that has already been over played by the media to the point of hysteria no matter how unwarranted.

Really this whole thread is just much ado about nothing. We all know that local people will continue killing snakes, pythons and otherwise just as they have always done and now the states encouraging it. I guess if it makes you feel better, have at.


Phil

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2249
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » December 10th, 2012, 6:50 pm

...so logic will have to take a back seat to TWSS
It's been a long Monday, so I am probably even more obtuse than usual. What is TWSS?

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by hellihooks » December 10th, 2012, 7:13 pm

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:
...so logic will have to take a back seat to TWSS
It's been a long Monday, so I am probably even more obtuse than usual. What is TWSS?
That's What She Said...usually used as a humorous comeback... but in this case... not so much. I liked what you said very much. Like when people say "Make them Rattle" or "can we see the fangs squirt poison?" at my crote talks... I tell them this is not a circus sideshow... :roll: :thumb: jim

User avatar
Mike VanValen
Posts: 2073
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:41 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Mike VanValen » December 10th, 2012, 7:23 pm

That's What She Said...usually used as a humorous comeback... but in this case... not so much. I liked what you said very much. Like when people say "Make them Rattle" or "can we see the fangs squirt poison?" at my crote talks... I tell them this is not a circus sideshow... :roll: :thumb:
:beer:

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2249
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » December 10th, 2012, 7:24 pm

Got it. And Helli, let me apologize for being so unnecessarily rude to you the other day in a different thread. I should not have done that.

User avatar
dery
Posts: 1793
Joined: October 1st, 2011, 11:01 am
Location: huntsville

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by dery » December 10th, 2012, 7:28 pm

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:Got it. And Helli, let me apologize for being so unnecessarily rude to you the other day in a different thread. I should not have done that.
:beer:

hellihooks
Posts: 8025
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Location: Hesperia, California.
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by hellihooks » December 10th, 2012, 7:43 pm

Tamara D. McConnell wrote:Got it. And Helli, let me apologize for being so unnecessarily rude to you the other day in a different thread. I should not have done that.
Accepted... AND Appreciated... :D jim

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 11th, 2012, 12:33 am

About the Real World . .

Its very nice to be analytical and politically correct and to keep an open mind.

One can read and reinerate the respectable wording that are used to 'define' this event (marketing) - including the title, Challenge

And then turn a deaf ear to the hooting of Primary Examples. Some people are attracted to Developing Their Awareness and some people are attracted to killing thangs - and Challenges!

I lived in Florida for a while. I kept the big garter until it wasnt exhausted anymore from being hit and tormented with sticks by some boys who's parents were sitting in lawn chairs.

I heard young adults in their twenties laugh and brag about setting up a wire clothesline to trip the black children riding their bikes up and down the main lane by their "property".

I lived there and my neighbors there were good ol sportsmen - they talked about this great american pastime all the f*ing time. I lived there in the real world and my front window was broken and naked lady parts were spray painted on my door - Repeatedly. Perhaps I harbor a bias against people who hunt for fun. It may be easier for one to have a more holistic view if they have never experienced being one of the hunted.


Edited due to some obtuse grammatical errors. Usually I dont care. This time I did.

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 11th, 2012, 9:29 am

Phil - yes, it appears we may have had some miscommunication on the hogs in state preserves question. Many states have adopted the "hogs are not wildlife" approach - and that works very well. For example in FL they are considered "trespass livestock" (which is a better definition, and useful) - there is no state season and no state bag limit. Any such limits have to be imposed at the local/property level. As far as FWC HQ is concerned, it's any time, anywhere, have as many hogs as you like.
Do you really think the public is not already aware that there are free ranging pythons in south FL? So do you really think these pythons are the result of people releasing their pets in the Glades?
I'm under no such illusions. I also think the "python challenge" is way more about the future than the past - not so much about assigning blame, as preventing future releases. Does anyone think releasing pets cannot present problems?

Kelley - have I been called politically correct? Hot Damn, there IS a first time for everything! Now I'm laughing out loud.

Folks - I think we need to discriminate between what the event is, and what the media says it is. The media is going to try and turn it into a freakshow - that's what they thrive on. But back in the real world, there are problems, and they need to be dealt with, even if the dealing looks like it'll get sticky. The hard part is not getting all gummed up in the sticky.

Good luck,
Jimi

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 11th, 2012, 10:18 am

What they thrive on is what people love.

You cannot seperate demand from supply.

The spirit of the event is unprofessional and buffoonish. It is not an optimal way to address the problem.

Many natives will be destroyed along with things getting torn up.

I assure you people value their own convenience highly. It will not stop people letting pets go.

People are discarding their reptile pets more then ever. People will do what they want including kill a big indigo or venomous sp after a few beers especially if no burm shows up and especially if they paid money to kill snakes.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 11th, 2012, 10:40 am

Jimi I dont know if you are a politically correct type, but i do know that the ideal of giving people an opportunity to redeem themselves and deferring from profiling demographics is seen as politically correct.

I wish it was another event worthy of your earnesty.

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 11th, 2012, 1:05 pm

Alright I'll keep trying. Here's the FWC press release:
http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/201 ... challenge/

A relevant excerpt of the press release:
“The FWC is encouraging the public to get involved in helping us remove Burmese pythons from public lands in south Florida,” said Kristen Sommers, head of the FWC’s Exotic Species Coordination Section. “By enlisting both the public and Florida’s python permit holders in a month-long competitive harvesting of Burmese pythons, we hope to motivate more people to find and harvest these large, invasive snakes. The Python Challenge gives people a chance to sign up for a competition to see who can catch the longest or the most pythons.

“Part of the goal of the Python Challenge is to educate the public to understand why nonnative species like Burmese pythons should never be released into the wild and encourage people to report sightings of exotic species,” Sommers said. “We also expect the competitive harvesting of Burmese pythons to result in additional information on the python population in south Florida and enhance our research and management efforts.”
Again, the event website:
http://www.pythonchallenge.org/

Event rules:
http://www.pythonchallenge.org/registration.aspx

A relevant pair to the discussion here:
Burmese pythons are classified as Conditional Species in Florida and cannot be transported live. They must be harvested in the field using humane methods. See our Guidelines on humane euthanasia of a Burmese python.

You will be disqualified for posting inhumane photos or videos or for posting photos or videos of illegal activities (e.g. shooting from levees) on social media. Any participant or person who violates any rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or state statutes shall be subject to disqualification from the 2013 Python Challenge™ as well as charged accordingly for said violation.


Here's what drives me batshit. People bitch a blue streak about others' efforts to do some good. But will they get off their lazy-ass high horses and do some work with the people they need to work with, and come up with better ideas, or even just figure out where & how to deliver their criticisms in such a way as they'll be heard by anyone who can change anything about it?

Will they even take a minute to figure out what it even is that they think they aren't happy with? And be open to the possibility that - just maybe - what they thought they didn't like, is not even a feature of the real thing?

Mainly, apparently, they can't be bothered. To a disturbing extent, I'm coming to think this community is a pretty representative sample of the wider community it seems to so despise. Projection is a sad and pathetic thing...

No wonder people leave.

Is this me profiling demographics? Should I maintain or extend to anyone here a "chance to redeem themselves", or would that be too politically correct? Should I just accept the negative impressions I am rapidly developing, as revealed, immutable Truth? Or would it be better to keep trying, keep learning, keep working? (Totally rhetorical questions in my case, but think about them for yourselves.)

Is this all just.
too.
earnest?

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 11th, 2012, 1:25 pm

I bust my ass every day on and after hours being part of the solution and taking care of the Fails.


Every day every choice i make.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 11th, 2012, 1:34 pm

Instead of all these long posts trying to get people to think its good Jimi, Why dont you just sign up and go do it?

craigb
Posts: 624
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Location: Southern Cal.

.

Post by craigb » December 11th, 2012, 2:34 pm

.

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 11th, 2012, 3:11 pm

This is all a lot simpler than quantum theory.

Alright, I apologize about the obtuse thing. Sorry about that.
Read the material and encourage relevant discussion of possibilities.
Works for me. Once they've read the material, I'd like to hear some better ideas from those who are so upset about this event. Better yet, get those ideas to Python Challenge sponsors, for their use next time.

A parting thought for your consideration, in the context of the Python Challenge - it's a lot easier to fix "shows initiative, and occasionally does something imperfectly" than "has no initiative and can't be induced to do anything". The latter is pretty much where FWC was, on pythons, from 1979 to about 2007-8. So that earlier crack somebody made about NPS doing a poor job of managing pythons was totally out of line. They had no partners.

Cheers,
Jimi

Coluber Constrictor
Posts: 1164
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Location: Mobile, AL

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Coluber Constrictor » December 11th, 2012, 4:13 pm

I have mixed feelings about this, but I think generally it is a good thing. It probably won't have a huge impact on the Florida python population, but at least data can be collected from the pythons that are turned in.

Animal Planet, Fox News, etc, might have a circle jerk over it, but oh well. :lol: :crazyeyes:

User avatar
dery
Posts: 1793
Joined: October 1st, 2011, 11:01 am
Location: huntsville

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by dery » December 11th, 2012, 4:27 pm

Coluber Constrictor wrote: Animal Planet, Fox News, etc, might have a circle jerk over it, but oh well. :lol: :crazyeyes:
Well that's what I don't like about it. Too many rednecks, so few biologists. :(

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 11th, 2012, 5:21 pm

Vic said this a while back and it bears repeating:
It will take a lot skill to be competitive in this contest. There is an entrance fee which will select for serious participants. Some of these folks probably enjoy other competitive outdoor sports, like angling tournaments, and thus they are used to regulations and rules, I see no reason why they can't identify pythons and enter them. It will take skill to win, those folks quite likely have experience and given it a lot of thought, and they will educate other participants. That is the good benefit of competition, it challenges others to achieve. It would be just great if "one of our own" from S. Florida joined in a showed' em how it is done. I look forward to hearing how this goes, I predict it will be tough and low catch per unit of effort.
I think a lot of this will prove out. If the event is repeated, we may well find that hunters become discouraged because it just isn't that fun hunting pythons (who knows?). But in the short run I suspect:

- bragging rights will be at a premium,
- a fair (and demographically irrelevant) number of animals will be culled & the resulting data could be put to use in designing actual control tactics and strategies,
- some people will have a good time (oh the horror!),
- and yes, there will be a media tugfest.

But will it be a circus? That depends on how the participants behave themselves. As Vic notes, people who buy hunting licenses are accustomed to having to follow rules, including (ALWAYS) proper ID of the quarry, and avoiding non-target take. And you can bet your last dollar the sponsors are well aware of the potential for a circus. This is major risk-taking on behalf of positive change here, on the part of bureaucracy, people - highly uncommon behavior, to be appreciated, not demonized.

Out,
Jimi

User avatar
Phil Peak
Posts: 523
Joined: June 20th, 2010, 7:17 am
Location: Kentucky
Contact:

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Phil Peak » December 11th, 2012, 6:18 pm

I hate to point this out to you, but many of the same hunters that cherish deer and other game, and play by the highest rules of sportsmanship also often have absolutely no regard for non-game wildlife including snakes.

I actually spend a great deal of time in the field and in my wanderings it just so happens that I commonly speak with hunters which generally delight in telling me about the snakes they blow away while in the field hunting. The average Joe considers them vermin fit only for destruction. So should we really teach these same people how to find snakes? Aside from wanton slaughter I suspect we will see a renewed interest in skinning and eating snakes. Hunters are really big into these activities and seem to take great delight in participating in these exercises.

For what its worth the killing doesn't end with snakes. They also seem to enjoy shooting turtles, bobcat, mink and just about anything else they encounter.

Sounds to me as if they're getting ready to open Pandora's box.

Phil

Coluber Constrictor
Posts: 1164
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Location: Mobile, AL

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Coluber Constrictor » December 11th, 2012, 7:08 pm

What Phil said about hunters killing the hell out of snakes is generally true, but the rules clearly state that the participants are not supposed to kill any native species, so that might rub off on at least some of them. :lol:

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about this, but generally I think any effort to control destructive invasives is a good thing.

User avatar
dery
Posts: 1793
Joined: October 1st, 2011, 11:01 am
Location: huntsville

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by dery » December 11th, 2012, 7:31 pm

Coluber Constrictor wrote:What Phil said about hunters killing the hell out of snakes is generally true, but the rules clearly state that the participants are not supposed to kill any native species, so that might rub off on at least some of them. :lol:

Like I said, I have mixed feelings about this, but generally I think any effort to control destructive invasives is a good thing.
It's the thought that some, not all uneducated parties involved; killing the wrong organism that makes me mostly against this.

User avatar
Mark Brown
Posts: 567
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Mark Brown » December 12th, 2012, 2:11 am

IndigoBlue wrote:As far as the suggestion that Burms in the Everglades are a result of Hurricane Andrew, I just do not buy it. The zoos that had any Burmese at that time maybe had a few each. Any that were sucked out by the hurricane and blown miles away deep into the glades would surely have been killed being such large animals. The whole idea of these big snakes flying in the air way out into wilderness is just a bit more than absurd. Where are all the other animals from the zoos that were in the same hurricane?
It isn't about zoos. That area of Florida is - or was - "Import Central" for most of the US, where most exotic animal importers based their businesses for convenience of climate and accessibility to waterways (for shipping). Thus, we're talking about businesses that deal in thousands of animals.

User avatar
Dr. Dark
Posts: 380
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:39 pm
Location: Concord TWP, Ohio

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Dr. Dark » December 12th, 2012, 5:55 am

HOLY SHIT! Did I ever open the proverbial can of burms...uh, I mean worms! Topics such as this are intended to invite ADULT discussion; personal affronts are rarely, if ever, appropriate in a forum such as this (or anywhere in life, for that matter). Please play nice people...

User avatar
dery
Posts: 1793
Joined: October 1st, 2011, 11:01 am
Location: huntsville

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by dery » December 12th, 2012, 7:15 am

Dr. Dark wrote:HOLY SHIT! Did I ever open the proverbial can of burms...uh, I mean worms! Topics such as this are intended to invite ADULT discussion; personal affronts are rarely, if ever, appropriate in a forum such as this (or anywhere in life, for that matter). Please play nice people...
Well, I don't know how to play nice w/a bad idea. No people are getting my wrath.

User avatar
BillMcGighan
Posts: 2308
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Location: Unicoi, TN

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by BillMcGighan » December 12th, 2012, 7:48 am

HOLY SHIT! Did I ever open the proverbial can of burms
You should be ashamed. :lol: :lol: :lol:
Shoot the messenger! Shoot the messenger! :lol: :lol: :lol:
Really, it is a good topic for discussion, especially here on the board line.


Since emotional opinions are strong, and many told how they think, some how they feel, and some told us more than we wanted to know, I'd like to try to alter the course a little, if you all want to play



Hypothetically

Consider you are herping the vast expanse of the everglades in an area where there are no laws to guide you (kind of like south side of Chicago).
You come across a sleeping burm about 10 foot long.
You are all alone.

You have:
....A camera
....A snake stick
....A large bag.
....A GPS (cause if you are out in the glades w/o a guide or local, on foot, you're toast.)
....A machete, large sharp knife, or firearm with a shot shell capability.
....Lots of bug repellant.
....Whatever you think you need (a large bottle of ethanol, etc.).



What would you do? What would you do?


a. Take pics, enter the data, kill the sucker, and feed the gators.
b. Take pics, enter the data, and leave the animal in peace.
c. Take pics, enter the data, capture it and take it to "Wayward Home for Rescued Pythons"
d. Take pics, enter the data, and take it home for a pet.
e. Other (explain)

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 12th, 2012, 8:04 am

It doesnt even occur in the mind that one could do something without Taking Pics.

What an interesting almost pavlovian notation. Tells me more than I want to know.

User avatar
Mark Brown
Posts: 567
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 1:15 am
Location: Austin, TX

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Mark Brown » December 12th, 2012, 8:27 am

IndigoBlue wrote:I am sure all those importers were not strictly dealing with just Burmese Pythons so where are all of those other exotics that were blown miles away into the glades?
Look, you can believe whatever you want.....I was just trying to give a little background.

User avatar
Kelly Mc
Posts: 4314
Joined: October 18th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Kelly Mc » December 12th, 2012, 8:38 am

Oh yeah the database. I have a hard time using that and I must have blocked it out because of my embarrassment and frustration.

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Florida python-killing contest

Post by Jimi » December 12th, 2012, 8:48 am

Alright, I keep asking "could someone offer a constructive suggestion here?" and pretty much am getting ignored. (I'm totally inured to that, ha ha.)

Let me try to model the behavior I'm suggesting.

Phil said:
I actually spend a great deal of time in the field and in my wanderings it just so happens that I commonly speak with hunters which generally delight in telling me about the snakes they blow away while in the field hunting. The average Joe considers them vermin fit only for destruction. So should we really teach these same people how to find snakes? Aside from wanton slaughter I suspect we will see a renewed interest in skinning and eating snakes. Hunters are really big into these activities and seem to take great delight in participating in these exercises.

For what its worth the killing doesn't end with snakes. They also seem to enjoy shooting turtles, bobcat, mink and just about anything else they encounter.
Alright, most of us - including me - have had similar experiences with individuals in the woods, we can relate similar anecdotes. (And surely we all understand how some people delight in yanking our chains - if we say "I like snakes" they say "I kill every one I see". That really doesn't tell us how earnest or how successful they are.) Similarly, we can all probably tell stories of how favorably impressed we have been, on occasion, by individuals we would not have expected such enlightened behavior from (for grins let's call the "nature-respecting Bubbas"). I would caution ANYONE to not excessively generalize - to not "manage by anecdote". Better to manage from reliable information.

What do we KNOW about the upcoming hunt?
It's intended to be limited to 4 WMAs
It's intended to be limited to about a month
Participants are supposed to do a training so they can distinguish between Burms and other snakes
Participants are supposed to collect data
There are several ways to be disqualified from winning, which can basically be grouped into a) cheating at the contest rules or b) breaking the law


What do we KNOW about hunting in Florida?
"Wanton waste of wildlife" (blasting anything that moves or doesn't) is illegal in Florida
FWC has probably 80-100 law enforcement officers in its southern region.

(As a former FWC employee, I would add that the agency culture has evolved an incredible amount in the last 2 decades, from old-school "hook & bullet" to a much more encompassing "all-wildlife" stance.)

So, what would be a constructive suggestion to make to contest organizers? How about:



"FWC, Would you please assign lots of law enforcement on & around those 4 WMAs that month, because we're worried there might be a lot of wanton waste of wildlife - especially wanton snake-killing - out there on account of this contest you guys have organized."



How much would it hurt NAFHA (national or chapter) to make such a suggestion? With enough lead-time for the agency to actually be able to digest it, and act as they see fit?

I think it would be GREAT if some of our willing members were able to represent us in the hunt. Maybe they could even win, and gain some accolades and positive profile. At the very least we'd be able to enjoy vicarious herping in the dead of winter. And, they could be on the look-out for wanton snake-whackers and evidence of such (hacked or blasted native snakes).

Responses to such ideas?

Cheers,
Jimi

Post Reply