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Whigham roundup notes


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Posted by fangsheath on January 25, 2003 at 15:02:21:

In Reply to: Thanks Kenny (more)...... posted by Brendan on January 24, 2003 at 15:42:13:

It's been 15 years since I went to the Whigham roundup, so things
may be somewhat different today, but perhaps these anecdotes can
provide some insight. There were about 300 rattlesnakes
shown at the roundup. Many were obviously collected long before
and were in very bad shape. At that time you could sign up to
go out with some snake hunters that day and watch them hunt,
which I did. We were driven many miles, and the snake hunters,
each of which had a long piece of PVC, scattered into the
surrounding area. I followed one of them as he went from
tortoise burrow to tortoise burrow, covering many acres over a
period of a few hours, running the PVC down the holes, listening
for a while, then rushing to the next hole to repeat the
process. We visited at least 2 dozen holes and he found no
evidence of a rattler. There were 4 or 5 snake hunters in the
group and only one of them found a rattler that day. He tried
to gas it out of the burrow but failed. Then 6 men proceeded
to take the next 3 hours digging a total of 3 holes, the last
of which was about 6 feet in diameter and 15 feet deep. They
pulled a groggy tortoise and a very groggy rattlesnake out of
the hole.

Thus 5-6 hours of intense effort by 6 people, after a
considerable drive, yielded one snake. Incidentally, telemetry
studies in North Florida have shown that only about half of the
time do eastern diamondbacks use tortoise burrows in the Red
Hills country of N Florida and S Georgia. The rest of the time
they are in stumpholes. Since there are probably hundreds of
empty stumpholes for every one with a rattler in it, roundup
hunters apparently do not even bother with them.

I did not see any selling of live rattlers to individuals at Whigham.


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