Rattlers invade Whigham - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Rattlers invade Whigham

January 28, 2005

Whigham- The 45-th annual Rattlesnake Roundup kicks-off at 8 AM in Whigham. Everyone is welcome, but not everyone supports it.

       They're heeeeere. Hundreds of large, poisonous rattlesnakes will be displayed tomorrow in Whigham. The show is organized by the Whigham Community Club. "Proceeds from this type of event reaches out largely to the community." says club president Dave Ulmer.

       The final preparations for the roundup are still in the works. And with as many as 20-thousand people expected to turn out, a lot of money is expected to be raised. "Our goal will be around 40-thousand dollars. And we'll raise that much. Could even be a little more.", says Ulmer.

       The rattlers will be displayed around a "snake ring" behind Plexiglass. There will even be someone on site to "milk" the snakes of their venom.

       While rattlesnake roundup is a fund-raiser, not everyone supports it, including Chet Powell of the Department of Natural Resources. "Initially when this thing started there were a lot of eastern diamondback rattlesnakes in S. Ga. That's not true anymore.", he says.

       Part of Powell's concern is how the snakes are hunted, especially during January, the coldest time of the year. They don't live above ground like they do in warmer weather. "The only way to get down there and get them is to gas them like they usually do, or dig them out, both of which are illegal.", he says.

       Some snake hunters say they are having to go farther away to find diamondbacks. But Rattlesnake Roundup supporters say it helps develop a good community environment.

Posted at 5:25 PM by stephen.ryan@walb.com

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