2016 PYTHON CHALLENGE™ SPECIFIC AREA RULES

PARTICIPATING AREAS

Registered participants may remove Burmese pythons from the following participating areas.  Also view the area maps and an interactive map that contains the areas, access points and drop off locations. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.  In addition to these specific area rules, you will want to review 2016 Python Challenge™ general competition rules.

Please check for participating area updates, closures and restrictions.

Holey Land and Rotenberger temporarily closed

High water levels have prompted FWC to issue an executive order temporarily restricting public access to Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). This action is necessary because high water levels force area wildlife to take refuge on tree islands and levees, resulting in higher levels of stress for these animals.

While participants in the Python ChallengeTM are exempt from some of the restrictions, they may only access these areas in the following manner:

Rotenberger WMA: Unable to access.

Holey Land WMA: Only the L-5 canal may be accessed by vessels launched at Palmer’s crossover.

Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA: Vessel access to marsh or canal is via boat ramps located at or along Palmer’s crossover, Lox Road, Hwy 27, Alligator Alley/I-75, Holiday Park, WCA 3B, and Tamiami Trail/US 41. Pedestrian access is allowed from Tamiami Trail/US 41 to the L-28, L-67A and L-67C, and L-29 levees. Participants must maintain a minimum distance of 100 yards from any tree island to minimize disturbance to upland wildlife.

A map of these access points is available.

  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live or dead Burmese pythons. Python ChallengeTM participants that have a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit do not need a hunting license and WMA permit or a Python Removal permit to capture, remove, harvest or transport live or dead Burmese pythons from the area.
  2. Participants must abide by all other area regulations:
  3. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  4. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  5. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  6. No artificial lights may be used for python collection or other wildlife viewing activities.
  7. See area regulations for additional information regarding legal methods for taking pythons.
  8. Use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) is prohibited.
  9. Taking wildlife with a gun on, from or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.
  10. Commercial recreational activities, such as but not limited to airboat rides, guide services or other tourist services, are prohibited in Conservation Area 3A South (south of I-75 and west of the Miami Canal) in Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, unless authorized by the Miccosukee Tribe, which has the exclusive right to provide such services in the leased area.
  11. Parking or driving airboats or other vehicles on tree islands or the surrounding fringe vegetation is prohibited. Cutting, damaging or removing any natural, manmade or cultural resources is also not allowed. This includes cutting down vegetation on tree islands. In short, do not remove anything from the 2016 Python Challenge™ participating areas other than Burmese pythons.

Big Cypress now closed

  1. Big Cypress WMA is open to the 2016 Python Challenge™ from Jan. 16, 2016 until Feb. 1, 2016 only.
  2. Possession of a 2016 Python Challenge™ permit and hunting license are required.
  3. Participants must abide by all area regulations.
  4. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  5. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  6. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  7. Burmese pythons may not be removed alive from Big Cypress WMA.
  8. No artificial lights may be used for python collection or other wildlife viewing activities.
  9. See area regulations for additional information regarding legal methods for taking pythons.
  10. No use of off-road vehicles (ORV) except with valid National Park Service ORV permit. Contact Big Cypress NPS ORV office (239-695-1205) or view the area’s vehicle use regulations.
  11. Commercial recreational activities, such as but not limited to airboat rides, guide services or other tourist services, are prohibited in Big Cypress WMA as part of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM.
  12. Participants are required to check in at designated Big Cypress check stations (different from Challenge drop off locations) upon entering the area and check out at the same check station when exiting the area.

Road closures

Also, due to current conditions, there are some road closures in Picayune Strand State Forest/Wildlife Management Area. Stewart Road is closed from between Faka Union Canal and Jane’s Scenic Drive in Fakahatchee Strand State Park until further notice. Triple G Road is also closed due to flooding until further notice. Please refer to the Picayune Strand State Forest page on the Florida Forest Service website for the most recent information on road closures.

  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live or dead Burmese pythons. Python ChallengeTM participants that have a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit do not need a hunting license and WMA permit or a Python Removal permit to capture, remove, harvest or transport live or dead Burmese pythons from the area (see below for rules specific to tracts).
  2. Participants must abide by all other area regulations.
  3. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  4. The South Golden Gate Estates tract (area east of Miller Blvd.) will be open for the duration of the event for both live and dead removal.
  5. Firearms allowed for taking pythons in this area during the 2016 Python ChallengeTM are restricted to legal shotguns.
  6. The Belle Meade tract (area west of Miller Blvd.) will be open for the duration of the event for live capture only. The Belle Meade tract also includes private lands which are not open to participants.
  7. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  8. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  9. Vehicles may be operated only on named or numbered roads and trails.
  10. Off-highway vehicles are prohibited.
  11. Portions of this WMA are part of a Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan project and will be temporarily closed to public access as construction occurs. Updated maps of areas to be closed or reopened will be posted online and at information kiosks.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live Burmese pythons from the specified area on the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
  2. Participation is limited to roads or trails in the designated area in the Reserve from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
  3. This area of Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve will only be open to participants in the 2016 Python ChallengeTM.
  4. All participants must check in and out at the locked gate at the official FWC drop off location.
  5. Any pythons removed from Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve must be surrendered at the gate to the drop off location operator by 5 p.m. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  6. Only live capture of pythons is allowed. Taking wildlife with guns or weapons of any kind (including bow or crossbow, bang-sticks, air-guns, or slingshots) is prohibited.
  7. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  8. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  9. Please use bright fluorescent colored orange flagging tape and tie it at eye-level to the nearest tall vegetation to mark the spot where a snake has been found. (Bright Orange flagging tape will be provided by the drop off location operator.)
  10. Motorized vehicle access is not permitted.
  11. No digging into burrows of any kind as they may belong to gopher tortoises. Gopher tortoises and their burrows are protected by law and all tortoise burrows in the reserve are closely monitored.
  12. Reserve Management retains the right to close access to Reserve lands due to impacts to resources and/or visitor experience.
  13. If the weather is right for planned prescribed burns then parts of or all of the participation area may be closed for a period of a few days up to a week.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live Burmese pythons.
  2. Participants must abide by all other Florida State Park regulations.
  3. Participation is limited to 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  4. All participants must check in and out at the park’s ranger station which also serves as the official drop off location.
  5. Park entrance fees apply: $5.00 per vehicle (2-8 people per vehicle) and $4.00 for single occupant.
  6. Access within the park will be the same as all other park visitors. Certain areas may be closed for resource management or construction activities.
  7. Only live capture of pythons is allowed. Taking wildlife with guns or weapons of any kind (including bow or crossbow, bang-sticks, air-guns, or slingshots) is prohibited.
  8. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  9. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  10. Captured pythons should be dropped off at the ranger station. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  11. Commercial recreational activities, such as but not limited to airboat rides, guide services or other tourist services, are prohibited in Collier-Seminole State Park as part of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live Burmese pythons.
  2. Participants must abide by all other Florida State Park regulations.
  3. Participation limited to park operational hours of 8:00 a.m. to sundown.
  4. All participants should check into the iron ranger fee collection box at the park ranger station.
  5. Park entrance fees apply: $3.00 per vehicle (up to 8 people) and $2.00 for cyclists and those who enter the park on-foot.
  6. Access within the park will be the same as all other park visitors. Certain areas may be closed for resource management or construction activities.
  7. Only live capture of pythons is allowed. Taking wildlife with guns or weapons of any kind (including bow or crossbow, bang-sticks, air-guns, or slingshots) is prohibited.
  8. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  9. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  10. Live pythons should be dropped off at the nearest official FWC drop off location. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  11. Off-road vehicles are not permitted. All vehicle traffic is limited to public roadways.
  12. Commercial recreational activities, such as but not limited to airboat rides, guide services or other tourist services, are prohibited in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park as part as part of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live or dead Burmese pythons. Python ChallengeTM participants that have a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit do not need a hunting license and WMA permit or a Python Removal permit to capture, remove, harvest or transport live or dead Burmese pythons from the area.
  2. During weekdays, access is restricted to non-motorized means. A limited number of participants will be allowed access by vehicle on specified levees from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis through gates located at official drop off locations.
  3. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  4. A portion of this area only allows for live capture of pythons.
  5. For portions of the area where lethal removal is allowed, see area regulations regarding legal methods for taking pythons.
  6. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  7. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  8. Use of ATVs, airboats, swamp buggies, tracked vehicles, and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
  9. Use of vehicles off of levees or roads is prohibited.
  10. Taking wildlife with a gun on, from or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live or dead Burmese pythons. Python ChallengeTM participants that have a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit do not need a hunting license and WMA permit or a Python Removal permit to capture, remove, harvest or transport live or dead Burmese pythons from the area.
  2. During weekdays, access is restricted to non-motorized means. A limited number of participants will be allowed access by vehicle on specified levees from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis through gates located at official drop off locations.
  3. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  4. A portion of this area only allows for live capture of pythons.
  5. For portions of the area where lethal removal is allowed, see area regulations regarding legal methods for taking pythons.
  6. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  7. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  8. Use of boats, airboats, ATVs, swamp buggies, tracked vehicles and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
  9. Use of vehicles off of levee roads is prohibited.
  10. Taking wildlife with a gun on, from or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.
  1. Possession of a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit is required to participate in the Python Removal Competition portion of the 2016 Python ChallengeTM and allows for the removal and transport of live Burmese pythons. Python ChallengeTM participants that have a 2016 Python ChallengeTM permit do not need a hunting license and WMA permit or a Python Removal permit to capture, remove or transport live Burmese pythons from the area.
  2. During weekdays, access is restricted to non-motorized means. A limited number of participants will be allowed access by vehicle on specified levees from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on a first-come, first-served basis through gates located at official drop off locations.
  3. Burmese pythons can be removed from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. Details for official 2016 Python Challenge TM drop off locations and their operating hours can be found on this interactive map.
  4. Only live capture is allowed in this area.
  5. Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons.
  6. Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  7. Use of boats, airboats, ATVs, swamp buggies, tracked vehicles and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
  8. Use of vehicles off of levees or roads is prohibited.
  9. Taking wildlife with a gun on, from or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.