Local man bags 5 pythons during Everglades challenge

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BRADENTON - The month-long Python Challenge in the Florida Everglades is over. The competition wrapped up Sunday. Hunters spent 30 days in the River of Grass, tracking and killing the invasive Burmese Python. In total, hunters caught only 50 snakes.

Bill Booth, a Bradenton resident was one of those hunters. In total, he and a group of friends bagged five snakes, including one that was almost 12 feet long.

"You are a little apprehensive when you go reaching through the grass to grab hold of something that might turn around and grab you back," said Booth.

Booth spent every night of the challenge sleeping in a tent. He and his friends would often get up at 4 in the morning to begin their day, sometimes searching 14-15 hours.

"It was a wonderful time. I just had a ball. I think a month in a tent was a little much. A motor home would have been nice," said Booth.

Booth would enjoy participating in another Everglades python hunt in the future. He only hopes that officials open up the portion of the Everglades that is considered part of the National Park. Booth says that is where most of the snakes are slithering about.

"If you want us to get the snakes out of there, we will all be glad to. Let us get to where the snakes are and give us that opportunity to get the numbers down," said Booth.

This Saturday, Booth will find how how he placed during an awards ceremony in Miami. Cash prizes will be handed out to the hunter who caught the most snakes, and to the hunter who caught the largest snake.