Will Rattlesnake Roundup end? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will Rattlesnake Roundup end?

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January 30, 2004

Whigham - If you saw and heard this snake in the woods, chances are you would turn and walk, maybe even run away, but on January 31st, thousands of people from all over South Georgia are coming to Whigham to see and hear rattlesnakes.

Chet Powell says, "My hopes are that people will realize that the whole purpose of this event is to raise funds for the people in the community."

Although Powell doesn't necessarily agree with the snakes being "rounded-up", so he's trying to change that. He says, "There are some people that are really nervous about making a change. This funds a lot of projects during the year and we need to show that we'll continue to support the changes."

Recently roundups have come under criticism because some say that hunters are using gasoline and pouring it down gopher tortoise holes to lure out the rattlesnakes, but organizers of the event say that's simply a misconception.

Barry Strickland says, "People have visions of people running around pouring five gallons of gas into every gopher hole they see. Snake hunters never poured gas into a hole. All they wanted was a little fumes to irritate the snake and make him come out of the hole."

But using gas to hunt snakes in any way is illegal. Strickland says, "We do not condone the use of gas in the capture of snakes."

And Powell hopes by bringing a variety of snakes to the event to display, less interest will be on hunting the snakes next year. He says, "I would love for this to be the last year that there is a round up of the bringing in of wild snakes."

But that all depends on this year's turnout. The roundup is Saturday from 9 AM until. Admission is only $1.00.

posted at 5:35 PM by karen.collier@walb.com