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Herps In The News Local or national articles where reptiles or amphibians have made it into the news media. Please cite sources.

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Old 06-09-2006, 11:46 PM   #1
Clay Davenport
PA - Snake hunters could face last roundup

New Pennsylvania regulations could put an end to Morris tradition.
By GEORGE OSGOOD
Star-Gazette Wellsboro Bureau
June 8, 2006
MORRIS - If you ever thought about going to the Morris Rattlesnake Roundup but never quite made it, this would be a good year to muster the energy.

The 51st annual roundup takes place this weekend in this village 12 miles south of Wellsboro. There may not be a 52nd.

"I thought this was going to be the year," said Amos Osborn, who has manned the snake pit for 50 of the 51 roundups. (He took one snake-hunt day off to get married. The nerve.) "Apparently, next year will tell the story."

That's because of regulations expected to be adopted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in 2007 that would make it impractical, if not impossible, for the roundup to continue.

Under the current proposal :

•Licenses fees for rattlesnake hunters would increase from the current $5 to $25. Licenses for hunt organizers, such as the Morris Township Volunteer Fire Department, would climb from $25 to $50, below the original proposal of $100.

•Captured snakes would have to measure at least 42 inches. And they would have to be measured in the woods, immediately after being caught - likely a two-person operation.

•It would be illegal to capture female timber rattlers. To tell the difference, hunters would have to count scales over a given area on the snakes' bellies, a measure hunters say would be hazardous and difficult.

"A lot more people are going to get bitten doing that," Osborn said. "Those snakes are very active when they are first captured. They are not docile."

Regulations are designed to protect the state's timber rattlesnake population, which Fish and Boat Commission workers say is in jeopardy.

Osborn said rattlers turned in during the roundup are returned unharmed to the areas where they were captured. After this year, that may be a moot point.

The roundup is one of the fire company's primary fundraisers each year. If the snake hunt ends, firefighters said they would find another event to take its place. But its place in local history is assured.

"It's been around a long time, generations," Osborn said. "People grew up with it. It would be sad to see it go."

But the 2006 hunt goes on.

It kicks off about 7 a.m. Saturday with the first games of the day's one-pitch softball tournament, which runs all day and brings in 18 teams.

Registration for the snake hunt begins at 8 a.m. Hunters have to turn in their snakes by 5 p.m. Measuring will go on until 6, when prizes are awarded to the hunters who brought in the longest and second-longest rattlers, and to the one who traveled farthest to compete.

Barbecued chicken dinners begin at 11 a.m., and Harold Benjamin and the Country Boys take to the stage from noon to 4 p.m. Fireworks take off at dusk.

On Sunday, White River performs from noon to 4 p.m.

A giant flea market, 50-50 bingo and a food concession featuring Texas hots, hand-cut french fries, funnel cakes and more running both days.

Admission and parking are free.

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Old 06-11-2006, 11:08 AM   #2
Rattlesnake
Finally, someone in Pa. is starting to activate their brain. So they have to count the scales in the wild where they are captured. And they thing this will be dangerous. GOOD, maybe some of the idiots will actually learn something. (Not what I wanted to say, but I can't say it on here). Now, if only the rest of the states would get a brain fart.
 

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