Final Tally in Fla. Python Hunt: 68

Take that, tens of thousands of dreaded, non-native reptiles

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2013 11:24 AM CST

(Newser) – Florida's ambitious 2013 Python Challenge has officially wrapped, and after some 1,600 hunters combed the Everglades in the month-long state-sanctioned slaughter of the estimated tens of thousands of snakes that can reach 18 feet in length, well ... ladies and gentlemen, there were 68 casualties. "You can go out there for days and days and days and not see one python," one snake hunter tells CNN. "I don't care how much experience you have. It is going to take some luck."

The hunt had showed signs of being a flop, but organizers are trying to put a happy face on it: "Thanks to the determination of Python Challenge competitors, we are able to gather invaluable information that will help refine and focus combined efforts to control pythons in the Everglades," says one official. The top amateur hunter took home $1,500 and six pythons, while the top professional hunter bagged 18.

Brian Barrows, receives his award for most python caught by an unlicensed hunter, six, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Zoo Miami.   (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Peter Andrew Bosch)
A Burmese python is displayed at the python hunt awards ceremony presented by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Zoo Miami.   (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Peter Andrew Bosch)
In this Jan. 12, 2013 file photo, Bill Booth of Bradenton, Fla., wears a dead Burmese python he caught, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 in the Florida Everglades.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 file photo taken in the Florida Everglades, a captured 13-foot-long Burmese python is displayed for snake hunters.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)
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