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Posted by W von Papinešu on January 27, 2003 at 13:29:34:
TIMES-ENTERPRISE (Thomasville, Florida) 26 January 03 Rattlin' up a good time (Julie A. Blakley)
Whigham: In all, 336 rattlesnakes were rustled from their habitats and hauled to the rattlesnake ring for the 43rd Annual Rattlesnake Roundup held in Whigham Saturday.
The biggest snake weighed in at nine pounds and earned hunter Tommy Lancos $200. Lancos received $400 more for bringing in the most snakes, 120, nearly one-third of the total.
Ronnie Hornsby, 52, is one Whigham resident who knows about the cold-blooded creatures. He has been rounding them up and selling them at the roundup for nearly 25 years and was in the ring Saturday unloading the several boxes he and a small group of others had captured. Bringing in 71 snakes put him in second place, but, for him, the fun seems to be in catching them.
"It's just like deer hunting," said Hornsby of how he sees this exotic hobby.
Hornsby said he usually waits until after the first frost of the year to start the hunt. A hose pushed into a snake hole allows him to better hear the telltale rattling noise, he said. All that's left to do after a snake is found is to set down a cage and wait. Hornsby said he learned the ins and outs of snake catching from a group of people long ago and is now teaching his son, Chase, 14, everything he knows. The hobby, he said, is not without its dangers. These he keeps in mind the three months a year he's out snake hunting with family and friends.
The snakes were unbagged and unboxed in front of a crowd of onlookers who got a close look at them Saturday afternoon. Headed for Campbell Farms in Alpine, Tenn., the snakes seemed to be the number one attraction at the event that drew a smaller crowd than last year, most likely because of the colder-than-average weather.