Local Man Bags Python
After Month-Long Hunt
Ruben Ramirez of Miami and his Florida Python Hunters team won $1,500 for bagging 18 pythons, the most caught by any of the permit holders. He also won prizes for bringing in the two longest snakes to be caught by any of the permit holders. Both those snakes stretched longer than 10 feet.
Brian Barrows of Fort Myers led the competition for amateur hunters, winning $1,500 for harvesting six snakes. His friend, Paul Shannon of Lehigh Acres, won $1,000 for catching a python measuring 14 feet 3 inches long.
The big snake caught Shannon’s eye as it slithered through the mud. It didn’t like being pulled out and lunged at a friend, Shannon said. Two gunshots to its head finally stopped it.
“When it jumped at him and he dropped it and dove in the bushes, I came around and it was coiled up. The coil was 4 feet wide,” he said. “The head was as big as my hand. I have nightmares about that vision of it coiled up, ready to strike again.”
The other snakes caught by Barrow and Shannon’s team ranged from 7 feet to 9 feet long. On six separate days during the month long hunt, they pointed Shannon’s airboat toward remote tree islands, looking for snakes sunning themselves on dry land.
“To see one that massive, it was shocking,” Barrows said. “You always think these things don’t exist out there, and they do. They’re out there and they’re big.”
Python Challenge: http://www.pythonchallenge.org/