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Python hunting season kicks off in FloridaFriday, January 18, 2013

Category:Outdoor and Recreation

The python hunting season recently kicked off in Southern Florida, attracting nearly 1,000 wranglers who have signed up to hunt the invasive species under the state's Python Challenge. The season will run through February 10

"If they'd told me 10-15 years ago, you're going to be cruising this road for Burmese pythons, I would've been like, 'You're crazy, no way,'" Ruben Ramirez, a python hunter who is registered for the Python Challenge, told Miami-DadeSunbeam Televisionaffiliate WSVN.

The 2013 Python Challenge looks to cut down on the overpopulated python population as the species, which can grow up to 25 feet long, is laying waste to the ecosystem and native wildlife of the Everglades. In addition, many of the species affected are endangered, and the pythons have fewpredators aside from humans and alligators. Under the Python Challenge, the competitor to catch the largest python gets $1,000 and the competitor who catches the most pythons gets $1,500.

The hunt already saw 11 kills in the first three days, with many more expected to come.

Those heading out for any hunting season this year, no matter how obscure, should look into equipping their vehicle with Husky Liners® custom fit floor mats to protect from unwanted damage to a car's interior.

Pythons are not the only reptile Florida hunters will be after. The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge recently announced that they are allowing 11 hunters to kill 22 alligators in an initial hunt.

Rolf Olsen, the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge's assistant manager said the hunt might begin as early as August and would occur during two different periods.

Acceptable methods of harvesting the alligators include harpoons, snatch hooks, gigs, spear guns and crossbows. Once the gators are caught, they will be killed with a bang stick, which is a pole with a shotgun charge at one end.