Rattlesnake Hunting Begins In Opp

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By Catalina Trivino

The Opp rattlesnake rodeo is just weeks away and snake wranglers are getting ready for the hunt...

Of course, you can't have the Rattlesnake Rodeo without rattlers, so we tagged along to see just how these slithery creatures are caught.

The hunt has officially kicked off -- with the Rattlesnake Rodeo just around the corner, snake wranglers are spending their days and nights searching for snakes to find the right hole.

BITE-Chuck Brooks -- snake hunter

"They're real strong. Hard to handle. You can't hold one over five or ten minutes, you know, without having to release your hands, their cramping is so strong," Said Chuck Brooks, who has been snake hunting for 42 years now.

The largest snake caught for the rodeo was recorded at 13.5 lbs. and 7.2 ft., which was found in the 1970's. It's a record snake hunters hope they can break. Although, they say it could be an issue caused by the wet and warm winter.

"Once the holes become water-clogged, the snakes will actually leave. And you know, sometimes they'll try to find a dry hole or they may even go into a brush pile or something like that," Said another snake hunter, Chris Harper.

 

The snake hunters say the wet, warm weather has made it harder to find the snakes because they become more disperse and they don't hide in their usual location -- but they say, that's not going to stop them from reaching their goal of 50 snakes for this year's Rattlesnake Rodeo.

Rodeo organizers say in recent years the number of rattlers hasn't declined as much as the hunters. They say compared to when the first Rattlesnake Rodeo started, the number of snake hunters has dropped by about 80 percent.

The rodeo will be held March 22nd and 23rd.

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