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Registration and Rules

Welcome to the 2013 Python Challenge™. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and our partners are pleased you are signing up for this opportunity to competitively harvest Burmese pythons, an invasive species of constrictor snake that threatens the Florida Everglades ecosystem, including native wildlife.

This page contains the official rules specific to the 2013 Python Challenge™, and online links to the required training, registration and other resources needed to participate in harvesting Burmese pythons for the Python Challenge™.

The Python Challenge™ kicks off at 1 p.m., Jan. 12, 2013 and ends at 11:59pm, Feb. 10, 2013. There will be a General Competition for members of the public, and a Python Permit Holders Competition for people holding permits from FWC or other agencies to harvest pythons.

To be a 2013 Python Challenge™ competitor, you must comply with the following official Python Challenge™ rules:

  • You must register online for the 2013 Python Challenge™ and pay a $25 entry fee. The registration includes a waiver of liability.*

* By registering for this event, I hereby, for myself and my heirs and anyone acting on my behalf, release, waive, discharge, covenant not to sue, and agree to hold the State of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the facility their employees, personnel, volunteers, agents, representatives, successors and assigns, harmless from any and all claims, demands and actions of any and every kind I have, may have or may hereafter accrue, either directly or indirectly arising out of or relating in any respect to my participation in connection with this event.  I also hereby grant FWC or FWC's assigns nonexclusive, irrevocable permission to use, edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, and/or distribute my photographs, videos, or likeness for purposes of publicizing FWC programs or for any other lawful purpose without payment or any other consideration.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to participate as a registered competitor in the 2013 Python Challenge™, unless you have a valid Florida hunting license. Youth under the age of 16 may not compete in the competition. Registration for persons under 18 years of age must be completed by the parent or guardian of the youth registrant. The registration includes a waiver of liability.
    *Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a registered adult when taking Burmese pythons during the competition. 

* By registering for this event, as a parent or guardian of the above participant(s), I certify that the participant(s) listed above has my permission to attend and participate in this event.  By registering for this event, I hereby, for myself and my heirs and anyone acting on my behalf,  release, waive, discharge, covenant not to sue, and agree to hold the State of Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and the facility their employees, personnel, volunteers, agents, representatives, successors and assigns, harmless from any and all claims, demands and actions of any and every kind I have, may have or may hereafter accrue, either directly or indirectly arising out of or relating in any respect to my participation in connection with this event.  I also hereby grant FWC or FWC's assigns nonexclusive, irrevocable permission to use, edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, and/or distribute my photographs, videos, or likeness for purposes of publicizing FWC programs or for any other lawful purpose without payment or any other consideration.

  • Before registering to harvest Burmese pythons in the 2013 Python Challenge™, you are required to take the Introduced Reptile Early Detection and Documentation (REDDy) Light Training. Please reserve about 30 minutes to complete this learning module. While you may take the training as many times as you like, you must complete the training in order to harvest Burmese pythons in the 2013 Python Challenge™.

  • Once you have registered for the 2013 Python Challenge™, you will receive a no-cost permit that will serve as your authorization for harvesting Burmese pythons. You must have a copy of this permit in your possession when you are participating in the 2013 Python Challenge™ competition.

  • Only Burmese pythons harvested in the wild from four wildlife management areas (WMAs) - Everglades and Francis S. Taylor, Holey Land, Rotenberger and Big Cypress - are valid entries for the General Competition. The Big Cypress WMA is only open to this event through February 1, 2013. Only those permitted by FWC to remove pythons year-round can harvest snakes from other state-managed lands, as allowed by their permits, and submit them as valid entries for the Python Permit Holders Competition. Road-killed Burmese pythons are not counted towards the competition, but the FWC would like to receive reports of any seen.

  • You will be disqualifiedfrom the competition if you harvest: 1) a snake outside of the specified areas of competition; 2) a native Florida snake; 3) one originally possessed as a pet; or 4) one originally possessed for research or commercial use. Any participant or person who violates any rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or state statutes shall be subject to disqualification from the 2013 Python Challenge™ as well as charged accordingly for said violation.

  • Burmese pythons are classified as Conditional Species in Florida and cannot be transported live. They must be harvested in the field using humane methods. See our Guidelines on humane euthanasia of a Burmese python.

  • An FWC hunting license and a management area permit are not required to take Burmese pythons if you are a registered participant in the 2013 Python Challenge™ (except a hunting license IS required if you are under 18 years of age). However, each competitor must follow the area-specific regulations for each WMA. For example, you cannot shoot a python with a gun or a bow on or from any levee, participants in Big Cypress must check in at designated check stations and secure a check station pass, and ATVs are not allowed within the WMAs (except for valid ORV permit holders in Big Cypress). Participants are responsible for knowing and complying with all WMA regulations, which may differ among the areas. Find regulations for each of the four WMAs in the 2013 Python Challenge™ here:

  • You will be disqualified for posting inhumane photos or videos or for posting photos or videos of illegal activities (e.g. shooting from levees) on social media. Any participant or person who violates any rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or state statutes shall be subject to disqualification from the 2013 Python Challenge™ as well as charged accordingly for said violation.

  • A data sheet must be fully completed and submitted for each harvested Burmese python in order for it to be logged to reflect the correct competitor, snake and location.
  • Python Permit Holders also are required to submit GPS tracklogs of their survey routes.

  • The harvested Burmese python must be dropped off within 24 hours of its harvesting at an established drop-off location.
  • All Burmese pythons will be verified, measured, and weighed by staff with the University of Florida using standardized protocol. This data will be provided to the FWC in order to determine competition winners, and all decisions will be finalized before the Python Challenge™ Awareness and Awards event on Feb. 16, 2013.

  • To be eligible for the longest Burmese python prize, the snake should be in no more than two pieces (e.g., the head removed from the body). However any snake submitted in more than two pieces still counts toward the total number of pythons captured.

  • TIE-BREAKERS: In the event of a tie for the most pythons, the award will be given to the participant with the longest total length of all pythons captured by that participant.  In the event of a tie in the category for total length, the award will be given to the participant with the python that is the longest and weighs the most.The rules for breaking a tie anticipate that the person who loses will receive the second place award.

  • You do not need to present at the Python ChallengeTM Awareness and Awards Event on Feb. 16, 2013 at Zoo Miami to be eligible to collect any of the prizes for harvesting the most or the longest Burmese pythons. However, all participants are encouraged to attend.  The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

Ready to Train? PDF

Ready to Register?

Toolkit for 2013 Python Challenge Competitors

 

Participants in the Python Challenge™ General Competition are encouraged on a voluntary basis to:

- Turn in data sheets on attempts that do not result in a successful python harvest. Information on where pythons are not being observed can be as valuable as where pythons are observed.

- Submit GPS tracklogs of their survey routes. This information is extremely valuable for python research and monitoring. A GPS protocol is available for detailed instructions on recording tracklogs during survey routes and creating waypoints for python harvesting and observations.

- Submit both data sheets and tracklogs weekly at one of the established drop-off locations, even if a python is not captured or observed.

Information regarding individual survey routes will not be published or made available during the Python Challenge™.

Your Participation Is Important

The 2013 Python Challenge™ is the first event of its kind hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to raise public awareness about the invasive Burmese python's threat to the Everglades and to provide an incentive for the public to help harvest Burmese pythons. We thank you for registering to harvest Burmese pythons in the 2013 Python Challenge™. Please also invite your family and friends to attend the two free public events: the Python Challenge™ Kickoff on Jan. 12, 2013 from 10 a.m., to 4 p.m. at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie and the Python Challenge™ Awareness and Awards Event at Zoo Miami on Feb. 16, 2013 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.