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Can You Hunt Pythons in Florida? Do You Need a License?

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hunting python in the forest

Whether you live in Florida and are tired of pythons slithering onto your property or are looking for an extreme adventure, python hunting in Florida fits the bill. But while it’s legal to hunt pythons in Florida, that doesn’t mean you can go out and do whatever you want. 

This guide highlights everything that you can and can’t do if you’re looking to hunt pythons in Florida. We also go over a few different ways that the state of Florida might actually pay you for your trouble!

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Can You Hunt Pythons in Florida?

Yes, it’s always open season for pythons in Florida, especially if you’re on private property. All you need to do is get permission from the landowner. Since pythons in Florida can reach massive sizes and endanger humans, most landowners are more than willing to have someone go onto their property and remove as many pythons as they want.

python in tree branch
Image Credit: Piqsels

Can You Get Paid to Hunt Pythons in Florida?

Not only can you hunt pythons wherever you want in Florida, but in the Everglades, you can also get paid to hunt them! A program there will pay you up to 10 hours of minimum wage per day to hunt pythons, and you get a bonus for each python that you catch.

For each python over 4 feet in size, Florida gives the hunter a $50 bonus, and for each additional foot over 4 feet, the hunter gets an extra $25. Since the Burmese python routinely gets over 10 feet in size, hunters can easily get $200 for a python plus the minimum wage rate.

However, you need to get in contact with the South Florida Wildlife Commission to become a contracted snake hunter.

If you don’t want to do that, you can enter the annual Florida Python Challenge instead. The 10-day event attracts hundreds of python hunters to the state. If you capture more pythons than all the other hunters there over the 10 days, you get to go home with the grand prize, which ranges from an ATV to cash, depending on the year.

man catching python in the grass
Image Credit: Lucian Coman, Shutterstock

Do You Need a Hunting License to Hunt Pythons in Florida?

No. While you need a hunting license to hunt just about anything else in Florida, hunting pythons is an exception. That said, if you want to hunt on public lands, you need to double-check with the local laws and regulations to see if you can hunt and if there are any restrictions to follow.

For instance, in some areas, you can hunt pythons with a shotgun, while in others, guns are not allowed. Check with the authority in charge of the public area where you plan on hunting pythons!

What Is the Largest Python Caught In Florida?

Burmese pythons can get large — huge, even. The largest python ever caught in Florida was a Burmese python that measured 18.9 feet.

While that’s one massive snake, it narrowly edged out the second largest python caught in Florida, another Burmese python that measured 18.8 feet.

Hunters caught both snakes in the Everglades, where the Burmese python population is surging due to the lack of natural predators.

burmese python in the wild
Image Credit: Heiko Kiera, Shutterstock

Why Can You Always Hunt Pythons in Florida?

While animal rights activists might be upset to hear about the efforts to capture and kill pythons in Florida, the truth is that the efforts to curb the population numbers of pythons in Florida are a good thing.

The problem is that the python is an invasive predatory species that’s creating all sorts of problems in Florida’s ecosystem. The Burmese python has no natural predators in the Everglades, and the conditions are great for their reproduction.

A female can lay up to 100 eggs simultaneously, which is a recipe for uncontrolled Burmese python reproduction. The African rock python is another invasive species in southern Florida.

Without hunting to control the population numbers, these pythons could completely wipe out other species, endanger humans, and forever alter the ecosystem that they’re invading.

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Final Thoughts

If you’re looking to hunt pythons, few states make it easier than Florida. You don’t need a hunting license, you can hunt them year-round, and there are even programs that will pay you to hunt them.

So, the next time that you think about hunting pythons, consider a trip to Florida so you can help ecologists and have fun at the same time!

Featured Image Credit: CoreRock, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.