The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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The Drawn Cutlass, knowing my affinity for the odd and peculiar, forwarded me an article on the cold snaps that we have had in Florida, and the effect it has had on the python and exotic snakes that infest the Everglades. The long and the short of it is that quite a few Burmese pythons and Boas died of exposure when the temperatures dropped and stayed low during some unseasonably cold days this past winter.
Southern Florida Portable Speed Bump...
But then, Swashbuckler Bob asked me what would I use if I was to hunt them; what weapon, and what loads would I suggest for hunting a Burmese or large constrictor. Now that Florida has opened the season on the destructive and invasive exotics, this is a very good question!
Chuck D.Before we go any further down this perilous and undoubtedly exciting path, let me also stress the importance of protecting our native reptiles! There are any number of reptiles in the United States that have been pushed very close to being threatened. Habitat destruction, over building, pollution, all of these things and many more, have taken their toll on our native wildlife. Don't be foolish and kill a snake just because you think it might do someone harm. Leave the creature alone! It wants nothing to do with you, and most of the time people get snake bit because they messed around with the snake. Respect Darwin, don't interfere, and let natural selection take its course. (See the Darwin Awards!) The gene pool needs a little chlorinating anyway!
Having said that, I love it when someone suggests a good line of inquiry!
My man Roach's M79
When you consider that some of these snakes are 15 feet long, and out weigh me by fifty to seventy pounds, you might excuse me if my first inclination is to suggest the M79 "Blooper" grenade launcher, or the newest incarnation the DEFCOM XL 79 Composite launcher. 40 mike mikes of flechettes or even HE would deter even the most voracious snake from making me an hors d'oeuvres!
But for a more practical and legal option let's consider a shotgun. Something of the twelve gauge persuasion, preferably pump, and with a full choke bore. Close to birds on the evolutionary tree, snakes are thin skinned, and thin boned. An accurately placed and well patterned load of birdshot would permanently ventilate a python's skull with ease. So my usual train of thought and impeccable scientific logic leads me to consider something like a turkey gun. Turkey guns pattern tight, reach out a bit further than upland types of shotguns, and are frequently weather resistant, something to keep in mind in Florida!
870 Express Turkey
Not as elegant but she's still a beauty!
But constrictors are heavily muscled. What if a less than optimal shot presented itself?
I had to think for a while. The second you move from relatively small pellets to larger projectiles, the distance they travel becomes an issue. That precludes buckshot in my Mossberg 590. I decided that the 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, and maybe the 22 Hornet might be the upper limit when safety is a consideration.
"But what really intrigued me was how the combination of 3000+ fps velocity and the ultra-lightweight little 35-grain V-Max bullet would perform in-target. So I placed a standard 8x8x11-inch block of 10-percent ordnance gelatin (weighs about 25 pounds) at 50 yards and center-punched its eight-inch face with a round of the new Hornady ammo from the Ruger Model 77/22. I was not prepared for the result. The block was lifted from the table by the impact and turned 90 degrees. The front third of its length was literally blown off, dangling in shreds and chunks. I could find nothing left of the V-Max bullet itself, save the bright red polymer tip that was hanging in the shredded gel." New Sting for the Hornet
"In 10 percent ballistic gelatin, this load also looks like a winner. Penetrating to 8 3/4 inches, the 33-grain V-Max bullet created a large, uniform permanent cavity at the same time. Offering explosive results in gelatin and accuracy that is out of this world, this load would be my choice anytime I'm looking at anchoring small animals (prairie dogs, for instance) out to 75 yards or even slightly more." Three.22 WMR Loads
That would be my selection for python and boa hunting in the Everglades. When considering any gun for hunting, take into consideration the physiology of the game animal. What is it's structure, bone density, musculature, etc. That will allow you to make an informed decision on the firearm, ammunition, and projectile that you will use.
If you happen to be carrying nothing more than a Jetfire in 25 auto, you might want to reconsider going up and against a big constrictor, unless you have an inkling about what you're up against and how you are going to go about it. And that begs the question, if you do have any kind of inkling, then why would you carry a Jetfire in 25 auto in the first place? If you are the kind of person that would, then I must refer you back to Old School Man for further tutoring.
Remember, we are not talking about sporting chances with the pythons. We are talking about annihilating them and removing them from the environment. I don't care if you plug a python or boa full of holes, as long as it dies; preferably quickly, but dead is dead. So if you happen to have a Ruger 10/22 on you at the moment, pick your shot and try to make the best of it. Head shot is the first and best target, with anything in the first third of the body likely to be fatal. If you're carrying a big bore weapon, be sure of what is behind the snake before you squeeze that trigger. Safety first and always!
Now it's your turn! What do you suggest? What and how would you arm yourself for combat against the constrictors of the Everglades?
Albert A Rasch™
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...
Scott Croner Albert A Rasch Albert “Afghanus” Rasch Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Nebraska Hunting Scott Croner, Merriam's Turkey Hunting Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Albert A Rasch Albert “Afghanus” Rasch Albert A Rasch Scott Croner Nebraska Hunting Scott Croner Merriam's Turkey Hunting Albert A Rasch