World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

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Dan Krull
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World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Dan Krull » March 10th, 2012, 10:32 am

This weekend is the world's largest rattlesnake round up in Sweetwater, TX. These slaughters occur every year, and nothing can stop them, it seems. They are public events, they make no attempt to hide what they do, and they have the full support of their state governments.

Simply filming footage and "showing the world" is not a sufficient way to combat these events. That has been done over and over, and it has had no effect. What do you all think could be done? If you had the money, volunteers, and resources, how would you take down Sweetwater, realistically?

I'm seriously looking for ideas. Please don't post threats of violence or intimidation. That is counterproductive. I am looking for ideas that haven't been tried.

Here is a film by my friend Joel Sartore showing an Oklahoma rattlesnake derby. Pay close attention to the faces of the audience members at the end of this amazing film. I have read that over 60 percent of people who attend these round-ups, never go to another one. Appauling. http://vimeo.com/11750458

Dan

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by justinm » March 10th, 2012, 10:37 am

I think that we would need to anthropomorphize these animals. Make people see them as something more than pests, vermin or a danger to people. There are a lot of interesting qualities that snakes have that many people might not realize. Explaining rookeries and the complex familial behaviors are found to be fascinating to most everyone. Explaining the natural balance of what they do vs. what they eat. I think rodents are held in equally low regard, so explaining how upsetting this balance affects people could help. Education I guess is what I'm shooting for. But I will say that I now avoid all Jaycees sponsored events in my area, and explain to people who ask why.

Sweetwater roundup is the major event of the Jaycees in that area. As far as I can tell this group is a national one, so I'll blame all of them since their activities are all on the same internet site. I do my own personal smear campaign when they have events in my area. I also let people who drink Coors Beer know that Coors is a major sponsor of Sweetwater and what that means to me.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by VICtort » March 10th, 2012, 10:56 am

I think the only way to reduce these is economic. It is all about $...it brings some action and considerable funds to the community. Either organize an effective boycott and get the sponsors i.e. Beer breweries to withdraw support or better, replace it with an econmically viable alternative....admittedly not so easy. Tractor pulls and wet T shirts contest and tigh fitting jeans have been tried...maybe there is some agricultural product for which the area is justly famous? We have carrot festivals, artichoke festivals, pumpkin and garlic festivals that I know of here in California. Maybe organize a Texas BBQ that is outstanding good food, with reasonable cost so it is attended, and a great dance afterward...but you need an "anchor" theme to hold it. What would happen if you had a high end rodeo at the same time? The iconography of Texas/Western lore is great, and finding something with more panache than the "boogie man" fear/public service myth of rattlesnake reduction is hard to compete with... I respect education goas , but I really am not convinced these folks would be willingly educated...it would be a slow process and long term to affect any change. Most folks want the $ quick...

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mark Brown » March 10th, 2012, 12:52 pm

People have been trying to get these things shut down for decades, and with little or no luck, though I seem to recall hearing about one roundup where they did stop killing all the animals. As mentioned above it's just too integral a part of some of these communities' money base, between the revenues gathered by the event itself and the money spent by all the attendees. It would be difficult to imagine any other animal that could be subjected to such treatment without a public outcry.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by monklet » March 10th, 2012, 1:03 pm

http://snakedays.com/

This event may be a good start ...not sure how it will draw, especially in its inauguration. I'm inclined to want to attend just to help support. Throw in a wet tee contest and some mud wrestling and maybe it'd take off ;-) ...otherwise, there's got to be some "thrill factor" and I'm not sure there can be one while still honoring the theme of the event.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Don » March 10th, 2012, 2:21 pm

This weekend is the first Claxton, GA, event without buying & selling native rattlesnakes. There are captive snakes on exhibit and plenty of other activities. First reports bill it as a huge success! http://www.claxtonevanschamber.com/disp ... d=9&pid=28
http://www.reptilechannel.com/reptile-n ... orgia.aspx
Danny & Sky with Urban Jungles Radio were tossed out of Sweetwater by the cops and threatened with arrest if they returned at the request of the Jaycees. This would indicate that the locals are getting sensitized to the negative pressure. That's a good thing!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ8JHZdk ... e=youtu.be

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by keown » March 10th, 2012, 3:11 pm

As Mark stated above, In Texas people have worked hard to get the rattlesnake round-ups shut down for years...at least as far back as the 1972 but to no avail. For the most part it is the JayCees and Coors Beer. I seem to recall that at least at one time Budwiser was also a big sponsor. I'd like to say that education is the key here, but I am really beginning to doubt if that is going to do the job. These people are set in their ways and these events have been a tradition for so many years that it seems virtually impossible to get through to the people that live and breath them. There are two roundups in Texas that I would really like to see an end to. The Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-up and the Freer Rattlesnake Round-up. The last info that I have is that over the years that the JacCees have bowed out of the Freer Round-up and that it is now pretty much run by the Freer Chamber of Commerce. Mark, I believe that the one that you mentioned that did actually stop kinning the animals is the Rattlesnake Festival held every year at Old San Patricio.
The people that are involved in the Sweetwater Round-up apparently are well connected. They get an invitation every year to come put-on one of their "Snake Shows" inside the State Capitol in Austin. Nothing like keeping the legislators in your hip pocket.
If you are at least a registered user at SWCHR you can access this link that contains a couple of newspaper stories about the Sweetwater JayCees rattlesnake show at the Texas State Capitol in 2008: http://southwesternherp.com/cgi-bin/yab ... 1202482672

If we can ever just get the using of gasoline to drive snakes from burrows and crevices outlawed in Texas it might be a first step as far as the Sweetwater round-up goes. Many, many of these people at these roundups do not even know that they now need a hunting license and a herp stamp to collect rattlesnakes and that they can not collect them from the roadways. And the few that do know it, seem to ignore it as does some of those who should/could be enforcing such laws.

-Gerald

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mark Brown » March 10th, 2012, 4:06 pm

Gerald, do you know if they still hold the roundup in Taylor? I looked online but couldn't find anything definitive, and I haven't heard anything about it in a long time. Talking about the years of protests in Texas against the roundups - somewhere around here I've got a photo from the local newpaper of Alan Tennant and a few others when they chained themselves to the gate at the Taylor roundup. That must've been at least 20 or 25 years ago.

It's beyond ridiculous that lawmakers in Texas have managed to outlaw LOOKING for snakes, but they still hold the door open for hundreds of cretins to go out and slaughter thousands of rattlesnakes. To get anything done against roundups, or really, against any legislation, herpers need a PAC and BIG money behind it. I've said for years that even if all the herp people in Texas managed to organize, their numbers still wouldn't be enough to get the attention of legislators, when you have so much money and power on the other side. It takes money to get anything done in government these days.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by keown » March 10th, 2012, 5:16 pm

Mark,

Regarding the Taylor Round-up, I'm not sure....It has not showed up on my radar in the last few years.

-Gerald

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Shane_TX » March 10th, 2012, 8:51 pm

Keep your enemies closer.

Most states are quite forgiving when it comes to hunting and pollution issues.

For example:
Gut-shot deer never make the news.
The BP thing is almost history. Exxon Valdez....done deal.

It will take a lot more than Bambi-creativity to stop a fairly insignificant problem.
Film some routine gassing in the Edwards Aquifer zone.....that'll piss everyone off!

Shane

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by VICtort » March 10th, 2012, 10:15 pm

I think Bryan and Shane and others all make good points. I don't think these folks woud be willing to be educated...it would interfere with business. Dan, does anyone have data to show the harvest is not sustainable, that in fact numbers are declining and average size? If so, it seems like the round ups could be attacked on a wildlife management analaysis basis. That is, forget the cruelty and barbarism and all the "animal rights" protests that have been tried and failed in the past. In fact, it probably just unites the "red necks" in their cause... But if one could embarrass the Texas fish & wildlife folks by showing inconsistency and arbitrary and capricious pattern in choosing laws etc., it might have some impact...? Maybe the folks from Center for Biological Diversity would have ideas? I think concerned herpers should be approaching this from a wildlife management perspective, and separate themselves form the animal rights groups, who have little credibility. Would you and others object if it could be shown the harvest was sustainable? It does not seem likely to me...but maybe they have a justification based on " best available science?"

Also, do they actually allow gasoline to be used? If someone could show that a "take" of endangered or listed wildlife occurs as a result i.e gopher tortoise or Indigo?, maybe that would be a wrench in the gears? This is a big political and social issue, far beyond wildlife management when one thinks about it. Does Texas parks and wildlife make any statements to justify it? Probably they are embarrassed and just lay low, and let the politicians/biostitutes set the policy...?

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mark Brown » March 11th, 2012, 1:33 am

VICtort wrote:Would you and others object if it could be shown the harvest was sustainable? It does not seem likely to me...but maybe they have a justification based on " best available science?"
That's part of the problem. There have been studies done and for the most part, from what I recall, they showed little lasting impact to atrox populations, at least here in Texas. Certainly they manage to find large numbers of snakes, year after year. I've heard that large animals have become fewer and fewer and I have noticed that myself, but whether a link can be made between reduced size and the roundups is questionable.
VICtort wrote:Also, do they actually allow gasoline to be used?
Technically, gassing dens is illegal - in the field it still goes on.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by stlouisdude » March 11th, 2012, 5:34 am

I'm sure any sponsors linked to national organizations could be deterred. On our end, someone would need some extremely good footage and document harm being done to the environment and mammals, as well as what happens to the snakes. The video would need to be aggressively distributed and specifically mention the sponsors with addresses and phone numbers. Other avenues would be approached by collaboration with other organizations. It takes a lot to propel people into action these days. Who could help? Well, we have some people on this forum with excellent camera skills! University students need projects to graduate. This could be a good one for the Communications department. The students would work with the professor to come up with a plan and put it into action. While not as effective as dropping thousands to hiring an experienced staff, it's probably the best free help you will get lol By involving people who normally would not be involved, you also develop a more inclusive audience. I think the best way to approach something like this is death by a thousand cuts. It would take patience, time, and sustained effort.

Do you guys really want the roundups stopped completely or just modified?

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by chris_mcmartin » March 11th, 2012, 8:44 am

There is also a roundup in Brownwood, TX. Smaller-scale, more cruel (they cut the heads off the snakes, then attach them to their jeans by way of the fangs, and walk around like that), and probably not as big an economic impact to the community. I posted a thread about it here, must've been pre-crash because I can't find it now. The favorite picture I took showed one of the participants holding a coiled atrox in one hand, while talking on his cell phone.

Gassing is technically illegal, but the local Sweetwater newspaper publishes a supplement on Roundup weekend which shows, pictorially, exactly how to use a pump sprayer to gas burrows...

As everyone has pretty much mentioned, this is about sheer economics. The local Jaycees make far too much money to completely shut down the event--it's not just a boost to the entire economy but they also raise money for numerous scholarships too. The no-kill roundup in GA needs to be highly publicized; it needs a little showmanship to demonstrate that they won't lose money if they make the switch at Sweetwater (the roundup is a small segment of a much larger happening at the Nolan County Fairgrounds that weekend, including a gun/knife show, a coin show (I think), and a bunch of carnival-type rides, food booths, and attractions); I dare say more money is made at those setups than at the snake-killin' portion.

But as far as needing money for lobbying, it's simple: one of us merely needs to win the lottery.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Daryl Eby » March 11th, 2012, 8:57 am

Maybe a video with some creative editing could open some minds to the horrors of this circus event. Don't disclose that the animals involved are snakes until the very end. Try to create the impression that the animals involved are rabbits or other rodents.

Something like this perhaps:
  • Opening shot of some rock outcrops beside farm field.
    Narrator: "This peaceful farm in the hills may seem idyllic."
    On screen: Show a rabbit emerging from the outcrops and heading into to farm field to eat the crop.
    Narrator: "However, back in the 1950's, the folks in this rural community decided that some of the local wildlife was costing them money and putting them at risk."
    On screen: Show a series of scenes of large numbers of rabbits or other rodents decimating crops, invading silos, nesting in kitchens, defecating and urinating in food and water that was intended for humans.
    Narrator: "Faced with a choice between nature and perceived safety and economic concerns, they united to purge the offending varmints from their midst. Every spring, people from all around the area gather together to round up the pesky and potentially harmful animals. Catching them proofed easy. Figuring out what to do with them after they were caught required a little more creativity.""
    On screen: Show a series of shots of gassing dens (no animals present), bags full of writhing animals (animals not seen, just the bags moving around), lines of trucks hauling in the animals, bags being dumped into pits (still not showing the animals), and idiots walking around in the pits and kicking the animals.
    Narrator: "They finally hit on a solution. A local social club organized a carnival to celebrate the eradication efforts. They encouraged people from all over the region to catch all the animals they could and bring them to the fairgrounds."
    On screen: Show scenes of happy families laughing and playing at a fair.
    Narrator: "They set up displays where the public could gawk at the newly captured animals as they desperately huddled together for safety."
    On screen: More shots of dumping unseen animals into pits with people watching in horror and amusement.
    Narrator: "They arranged for the bravest among themselves to march through the masses of animals in a display of ultimate human domination."
    On screen: More shots of idiots walking and kicking their way through pits of unseen critters to the amusement of the masses.
    Narrator: "They weighed and measured the animals brought in by each contestant and awarded prizes to the captors."
    On screen: Show scenes of award ceremony.
    Narrator: "They took samples of body fluids from the animals and claimed to send it off for medical research."
    On screen: Show idiots in blood splattered lab coats carelessly handling vials of venom.
    Narrator: "They arranged a beauty pageant and awarded the winner with the chance to decapitate one of the hated animals."
    On screen: Show a beauty pageant queen wielding a bloody knife and splattered in blood while smiling proudly.
    Narrator: "They set-up public displays of butcher shops to decapitate, skin, gut, and process the vile creatures."
    On screen: Show scenes of knife wielding butchers in unsanitary and inhuman conditions.
    Narrator: "The public watched on as the headless and skinless corpses wiggled and writhed on table tops.
    On screen: Show public watching on in amazed horror.
    Narrator: "The sent the meat to food preparation booths where it was cut up and fried for immediate consumption."
    On screen: Show public making faces as they eat the meat.
    Narrator: "The sent the heads, skins, and tails to other booths where they were made into macabre souvenirs, hatbands, belts, and boots."
    On screen: Show public looking at souvenirs with warped fascination.
    Narrator: "So, where does this macabre event take place?"
    On screen: Show a "Sweetwater Texas" sign.
    Narrator: "What fraternal organization organizes, promotes and profits from it?"
    On screen: Show a "Jaycees" logo or sign.
    Narrator: "What companies sponsor all this bloodletting and torture?"
    On screen: Show logos of the various well known sponsors.
    Narrator: "What is the wildlife victim of all this hatred and brutality?"
    On screen: Show a scene of a beautiful rattlesnake in natural habitat.
    Narrator: "Snakes may not be loved by most of the general public and some species can pose a potential risk. However, do they really deserve to be treated like this?"
Maybe end with some stats showing more harm caused by rodents than snakes and asking if we should start rounding up rabbits instead.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by monklet » March 11th, 2012, 9:22 am

Very creative approach Daryl! ...now just throw in some of the developing studies indicating complex social behaviors in some rattlesnake species and voila!

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by muskiemagnet » March 11th, 2012, 9:37 am

i have to admit, i did not read through this all for lack of time.

it's a tough one to even think about ways to get it shut down. i did catch someone's reply stating that other round-ups stopped killing all the snakes. well, that's a start. if you can shut it down in one step, that's cool, but you will piss off a lot of people. i apologize for this analogy in a herp forum, but how do you boil a frog? slowly. i'd say the best approach is to find some way to get the public in texas to see the snakes differently. once you can reach some in that manner, you have a base to work with. educate. it will take time. maybe longer than any of us have on this planet. parents instill values on their children and so on. all you can hope for is that over time, it just disappears. at least for now, shoot for the thought of not killing all the snakes. i know it's blatant killing, and in my mind, not justified in any way. i'm sure there have been studies done regarding this. i have not read any. is there any sustainability to this? could it be sustainable? i have to admit that collecting tactics must be addressed. gasing dens is totally unacceptable. the mass slaughter is horrible, but they eat the snakes as well as use the skins. is that any different from hunting? that's why i bring up sustainability. if anyone has studies regarding this, please share. i'd be interested. actually, if you do, could you pm them to me.

-ben

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Mike Rochford
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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 1:03 pm

I'm of the opinion that we have been sensible and friendly for far too long and it hasn't worked. So, I propose...

Sweetwater Education Days

We set up shop in sweetwater near the round-up and protest a la Fred Phelps. We exercise our right to free speech to the fullest. We have signs like "Santa isn't real" and we have a booth where we can teach them the basics on evolution and conservation while bashing religion. Now, I know everyone here won't agree with this, but we need to
make them hate us. We need to torture them with our words. And this would piss them off like crazy... Telling their kids there's no Santa and no god. I would expect this to
escalate... But they have to be the ones to do it. One of us might get punched or worse, but that's the point. And it's needs to be on video if/when it happens. We have to follow the letter of the law at all times because the cops
will not be on our side. And the planning will have to take place privately. We need the element of surprise.

I've seen the same talk for ten years. Getting this shut down the right way isn't going to work. We've tried it for years. I feel that a radical approach is the only way to get anything addressed properly.

Mike

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by justinm » March 11th, 2012, 1:06 pm

Mikey,

I can't make it this year but if you want to plan for next year. I'll take lump or two, and everyone knows that I can get people mad. Call it a gift.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Lol. Awesome. It would have to be next year for sure. Two is a good start! Who else?!?!?! We need some more good debaters!!!

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Scott Waters » March 11th, 2012, 1:26 pm

Hey guys.....give this a listen....
http://www.herpnation.com/audio/the-dan ... ion-radio/

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Don » March 11th, 2012, 1:29 pm

muskiemagnet: Here's a link to a study Bruce Means did on the impact of roundups on EDBs. Granted, it's a whole different set of circumstances, but it's food for thought: http://www.herpconbio.org/Volume_4/Issu ... s_2009.pdf

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 1:31 pm

I know I've enjoyed the Dan krull show many a time on my iPhone but it doesn't look possible anymore and I am currently wi-fi-less!!! :(

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Natalie McNear » March 11th, 2012, 1:34 pm

Mike Rochford wrote:I'm of the opinion that we have been sensible and friendly for far too long and it hasn't worked. So, I propose...

Sweetwater Education Days

We set up shop in sweetwater near the round-up and protest a la Fred Phelps. We exercise our right to free speech to the fullest. We have signs like "Santa isn't real" and we have a booth where we can teach them the basics on evolution and conservation while bashing religion. Now, I know everyone here won't agree with this, but we need to
make them hate us. We need to torture them with our words. And this would piss them off like crazy... Telling their kids there's no Santa and no god. I would expect this to
escalate... But they have to be the ones to do it. One of us might get punched or worse, but that's the point. And it's needs to be on video if/when it happens. We have to follow the letter of the law at all times because the cops
will not be on our side. And the planning will have to take place privately. We need the element of surprise.

I've seen the same talk for ten years. Getting this shut down the right way isn't going to work. We've tried it for years. I feel that a radical approach is the only way to get anything addressed properly.

Mike
Thing is, with that sort of approach, the rednecks are just going to retaliate by killing more snakes. As much as I hate to say it, the best way to change their minds would probably be making it relatable to things they know, like religion. Doesn't their bible say something about nature and animals being a part of the creation? So they shouldn't be killing "god's creations" or something along those lines? That might make it easier for them to understand and is less insulting to them than science.

There would have to be events for children too, since they're still open to new information and ideas. And make the Gadsden Flag the symbol of the event, since it portrays rattlesnakes in a good light and is patriotic. We would need to portray the rattlesnake as a symbol of Texas and the west in general. And emphasize the role of rattlesnakes as valuable predators of rodents, which spread diseases like hantavirus and plague.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 1:38 pm

I posted that bible stuff on the roundup facebook page but it was deleted quickly. I still think the logical approach has been exhausted but it doesn't hurt to employ several different strategies.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by El Garia » March 11th, 2012, 1:41 pm

Natalie - your approach to the issue of round-ups is the best that I've heard to date. Ridicule will get us nowhere, folks.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Daryl Eby » March 11th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Mike Rochford wrote:"Santa isn't real" ... teach them the basics on evolution ... bashing religion ... Telling their kids there's no Santa and no god.
What in wide world of weptiles does any of this have to do with animal cruelty and unsound hunting practices? Why not just call their wives hookers, bad mouth their mothers, and insult their kids while we're at it. This is the craziest and most counterproductive approach I could ever imagine. The herper community has a bad enough reputation. This crap would just reinforce all the negative stereotypes and attitudes against us.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 2:33 pm

It certainly wasn't my first choice of methods to tackle this issue. But I've seen sanity used every year and every year the round-ups continue. So my new logic is that we have to make things worse before they get better. Nobody is paying attention to this issue on the scale required to make a difference. If we match their negativity with our 100% legal negativity, maybe they will come to understand that they are not creating the right kind of environment for their children. I don't mean to offend people on this forum (if that can be believed) but I honestly don't think the solution will come without things getting ugly first. For example, you always hear "somebody has to die before anything will change." I'm certainly not wishing for that but I think this has to become an issue that requires immediate attention and we have to make it come to that. We can't allow people to keep kicking the can down the road. Nothing has worked. And no offense to the people with nice ideas, but they've pretty much been tried already and they don't work. That's all I'm trying to say. The situation has to become so ugly that they are FORCED to take some kind of action. But we have to do that legally and that's the challenge. Hate speech is as close as we can get. All I want is a bag limit. I don't care if they kill some snakes. But it shouldn't be limitless.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by hellihooks » March 11th, 2012, 2:34 pm

Boycott Coors and any other sponsors. Mount national online campaigns on facebook/social medias, ect. gets big enough, AP/Networks will pick it up. jim

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mark Brown » March 11th, 2012, 2:37 pm

While I'm sure everyone has the best of intentions, to suggest fixes for this without being familiar with the cultures involved is a little like someone from Yoakum, Texas coming up with solutions to gang problems in southside Chicago. And keep in mind that this isn't a recent problem - intelligent and dedicated people have been trying for at least three decades to get these things stopped and they're still going strong. They've convinced a few sponsors to leave, but they were quickly replaced by other sponsors.

The basic problem is the fact that to most people in the areas where the roundups are held, rattlesnakes are deadly pests, to be exterminated as if they were rats or cockroaches or mosquitos. The only real solution that I can see is to change the way ranchers and landowners look at rattlesnakes, and that's a very tough task. Even if there was scientific evidence pointing to serious impacts to rattlesnake populations from the roundups, nobody would care. Their attitude would be, "Good riddance". Until you can convince the people living in those areas that there is a good reason NOT to kill rattlesnakes, the roundups will go on, and the large majority of these people are not sympathetic to environmentalists, scientists, or outsiders meddling in their affairs.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Daryl Eby » March 11th, 2012, 2:42 pm

Mike,
I know your intentions are good and I admire your dedication. I just don't see how anything positive could come from this approach. Can you provide any examples of an approach like this actually succeeding?

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 2:52 pm

It's hard to draw a parallel but what comes to my mind is the guy who made the YouTube video going through the TSA checkpoint. The situation called for different tactics, but the strategy was the same... Make things worse before they get better because the media is drawn to conflict. I guess you could go down the list of civil rights activists like Rosa Parks, MLK, Malcolm x. And maybe the Whale Wars people would be a somewhat decent example. I don't know for sure that it will work, but I know for sure that trying to educate people that don't want to be educated doesn't work and hasn't worked.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 2:57 pm

After more thought, we could leave Santa and god out of it but it needs to be offensive and it doesn't get much more offensive than that. The objective is to destroy their community (not physically, obviously) as long as the round-ups continue. Make it unpleasant. Make it a terrible place for kids. All they have to do is stop or do it sustainably and life will be good again.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by hellihooks » March 11th, 2012, 4:02 pm

Just as the label "Sweetwater Mentality' has a negative conotation here on FHF... we should work towards making it an offensive label Nationwide. Embarrass them into quitting or people attending. Google 'Santorum'... :lol: :lol:

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by squinn » March 11th, 2012, 4:27 pm

Daryl Eby wrote:
Mike Rochford wrote:"Santa isn't real" ... teach them the basics on evolution ... bashing religion ... Telling their kids there's no Santa and no god.


you know what sweetwater really needs, and the poster doing all the god and santa stuff could probably make this happen with or without their blessing is midget tossing, imagine several burly men and women hurling midgets over pits of rattlesnakes, how freakin' epic would that be? It is also bound to raise the ire of various Americans with disabilities groups, getting that all important public exposure and make the midgets dress as oompa loompas, dwarves and those creepy little ginger irish things....just make sure the contestants are all wearing t-shirts that say "I support the sweetwater rattle snake roundup" and post pictures everywhere and invite the media.....and let's not just tell the truth and educate people let's exaggerate and outright lie, like organizations like peta do. I mean after all wasn't there a famous nazi propaganist that said a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth...surely that is a person well worth emulating if the cause is just isn't it? (sarcasm)

This idea is only slightly more random and rediculous that what i've just read on this thread.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 4:55 pm

I'll be the first to admit I'm a little crazy, but I'll provide this quote from a fairly smart dude:

.ALBERT EINSTEIN. Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I guess after 12 years of observing and participating in efforts to end these things I'm just a little worn out with the concept of educating these people.

I didn't realize we had to use kid gloves on the poor, defenseless people of sweetwater. I guess the question is: do the ends justify the means?

Mike

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by chad ks » March 11th, 2012, 5:33 pm

Dan Krull wrote:This weekend is the world's largest rattlesnake round up in Sweetwater, TX. These slaughters occur every year, and nothing can stop them, it seems. They are public events, they make no attempt to hide what they do, and they have the full support of their state governments.

Simply filming footage and "showing the world" is not a sufficient way to combat these events. That has been done over and over, and it has had no effect. What do you all think could be done? If you had the money, volunteers, and resources, how would you take down Sweetwater, realistically?

I'm seriously looking for ideas. Please don't post threats of violence or intimidation. That is counterproductive. I am looking for ideas that haven't been tried.

Here is a film by my friend Joel Sartore showing an Oklahoma rattlesnake derby. Pay close attention to the faces of the audience members at the end of this amazing film. I have read that over 60 percent of people who attend these round-ups, never go to another one. Appauling. http://vimeo.com/11750458

Dan
I think filming footage and showing the world is a great way, and it is sufficient as a method to produce results, though maybe not immediate ones. Heck, just look at your friend Joel's film, isn't that a good way? Of course it's had an effect man, and you can do a lot yourself with your talents to make leaps.

I think rattlesnake round ups are on their way out. It will take exposure and activism, and we have that covered in the former sense but it might take more of us to use our yearly herp trip money to actually organize and hold activist meetings and demonstrations during the event.

It's going to take real tangible action and tangible effort.

Combine documentary film making with a group of passionate activists who travel from around the country or world to PROVE their passion with their actions, and you have the recipe for a meaningful affective program.

Think about it, showing reasonable tax paying people with lives and families, who travel down to Sweetwater and Okeene and Waynoka to actually show their faces and demonstrate.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 5:49 pm

Ok. Consider my plan dead and I am now a follower of chads plan. My one concern is spending money there and boosting their economy. Maybe we can find other nearby places to stay and only travel into town to protest and be as self-sufficient as possible. Regardless of the exact details of how this all goes down, I think we need masses of people in sweetwater next year.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Dan Krull » March 11th, 2012, 7:31 pm

Some round up discussion on my latest show:

http://www.herpnation.com/audio/the-dan ... krull-show


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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » March 11th, 2012, 9:26 pm

I quickly read through the posts in this thread and I must say, I failed to see anyone examining this issue from an unbiased and impartial perspective. I would urge you approach such issues more dispassionately, try to think about all sides, and if possible, put your emotions aside.

Now let me quickly add that I am not a fan of rattlesnake roundups. But having majored in wildlife science, I can look at this issue from a biological / rational perspective and I suggest all try to do the same.

It would be my best guess that many of you either fish and / or hunt. For those that fish and hunt, tell me the difference between harvesting deer, rabbits, ducks, pheasants, trout, bass, etc. versus the harvesting of snakes.

And speaking of harvesting of snakes, are you just as opposed to the collection of snakes by various institutions for voucher specimens? Most such harvested snakes for scientific purposes sit in alcohol within jars for eons and never are examined. Being involved in research, there is value in such preserves specimens but for the most part, such voucher specimens are seldom used. And I venture to say that there are far more species and far greater numbers of snake being captured, killed, and preserved than what occurs annually at rattlesnake roundups.

It is my understanding that due to public pressure, some roundups have been discontinued and others, like the Sweetwater roundup, have cleaned up their act to a considerable degree. I could be wrong on that score, but I believe that all parts of the harvested snakes are utilized and not wasted as once was likely the case. That is, the meat is used for food and the hides are used for commercial purposes.

With some notable exceptions, such harvest of wildlife (snakes included) generally does not deplete the resource and species are able to sustain their populations.

I hope this might give some of you a reason to reexamine their position on this issue.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Mike Rochford » March 11th, 2012, 9:35 pm

Personally, I'm not opposed to what they do there. My only concern is that there is not a bag limit. They go to dens and catch every snake they see (and possibly with the use of gasoline which I am also against). All that said, I will use the "abuse" aspect to gain support from people in an effort to fight this. That's all I want... A bag limit. Pretty easy to satisfy.

Mike

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Phil Peak » March 11th, 2012, 9:56 pm

Richard F. Hoyer wrote:
It would be my best guess that many of you either fish and / or hunt. For those that fish and hunt, tell me the difference between harvesting deer, rabbits, ducks, pheasants, trout, bass, etc. versus the harvesting of snakes.
Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)
One obvious difference is that fish and wildlife agencies actively manage and regulate the take of the game species that you referrenced. In addition, many fish and game species are actually stocked by these same agencies. For that matter, bass and trout in particular are spawned in hatcheries and later released in both native water ways and even places where they have never historically existed. For example, Black Bass in California or Rainbow Trout in the eastern U.S. There are also many incentives in place for private land owners to receive benefits from the state for managing part of their lands as habitat for game species. When the government begins stocking snakes that were descended from hatcheries and creating incentives for property owners to manage their properties as snake habitat, then maybe your analogy would be accurate. Until then this comparison is apples and oranges.

Phil

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Daryl Eby » March 11th, 2012, 10:24 pm

Richard F. Hoyer wrote:It would be my best guess that many of you either fish and / or hunt. For those that fish and hunt, tell me the difference between harvesting deer, rabbits, ducks, pheasants, trout, bass, etc. versus the harvesting of snakes.
I don't hunt and haven't fished in years. However, I do eat meat and fish and utilize various animal products. Accordingly, I have no objection (other than personal emotions) to rattlesnake harvests. Additionally, while I blanch at the huge numbers that are harvested, I suspect that current harvest levels are fully sustainable. My objections are to the gassing of dens, wanton cruelty, inhumane conditions, and glorification of killing wildlife.

Hunters and fishermen do not revel in the suffering and death of their prey. On the contrary, they take great efforts to ensure a quick kill with minimal suffering. Heck even slaughterhouses try to minimize suffering. I doubt that Miss Pilgrim's Pride is expected to behead a prize chicken. I also doubt that school groups on field trips to slaughterhouses dip their hands in cow or chicken blood to make bloody hand-prints and sign their names.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by VICtort » March 11th, 2012, 10:44 pm

Richard, there are indeed some differences. You will note my posts suggest approaching this like other wildlife mangement issues...but it appears the Texas wildlife folks are arbitrary and capricious in management issues. For example, is it lawful to trade barter and sell other wildlife taken in Texas? Correct me if I am wrong, but generally one may not sell fish or game taken under the authority of a sport license, yes? Apparently it is OK if the harvest is of C. atrox at a round-up, and you used that as an argument (I realize you are not advocating, but merely presenting a debate item...), a sort of justification because they are not wasting the snakes, i.e they are selling the skins, selling the flesh, selling the showmanship etc. I generally agree with your sentiment, and I would like to see this approached on a wildlife management venue, I do not think these folks will be educated, nor do they care about various protest groups (in fact it unites them and they will probably just regard you as a bunch of PETA types etc. Most of this has been tried and failed...again and again. Mike R. made some points about radicalism, some of you may remember how the fur market was destroyed, when animal rights activists would spray paint a fashion model as she left her limousine wearing a fur coat...and after enough Hollywood people (heaven knows they are authorities on wildlife management issues...) spoke out agains furs, the market died and it became "unfashionable" in this and several other countries to wear furs.

Who besides us speaks out to defend rattlesnakes from a commercial motivated harvest? These Texas round up folks think we are more than a little eccentric...and the politicians will of course follow the $. I did not realize the roundups were often associated with carnivals etc., and that sort of kills my theory we could replace the round up with a quality rodeo or some civic event they would support.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by chris_mcmartin » March 12th, 2012, 2:14 am

VICtort wrote: is it lawful to trade barter and sell other wildlife taken in Texas?
Yes, for nongame wildlife taken under a Commercial Dealer's permit. And as far as bag limits are concerned, I thought there used to be a bag limit of 25 per permit, but I could be wrong, and it could have changed.
I generally agree with your sentiment, and I would like to see this approached on a wildlife management venue
I think they should enforce the laws already in effect--no gassing of burrows, animal cruelty laws, bag limits, commercialization restrictions (unless proper permits are purchased), etc.

I did not realize the roundups were often associated with carnivals etc., and that sort of kills my theory we could replace the round up with a quality rodeo or some civic event they would support.
I actually think that HELPS our case...in that the actual "rattlesnake" portion of the event is almost ancillary when considering where the real money is being made. Shoot, we could offer up as an alternative a "rattlesnake rendezvous" vs. a "rattlesnake roundup." Have a few of the nicest snakes ONLY being put on display in a tasteful manner, then released (or at least maintained alive year-round), and still sell T-shirts, can koozies, frisbees, bandanas, bottle openers, etc. all emblazoned with the Jaycees logo.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by ugh » March 12th, 2012, 6:05 am

Good to see some real thoughtful discussion going on here one of the ultimate nemisis of us here.....

What changes have taken place in Claxton this year CANNOT be overstated. I believe/hope it will be looked back upon as a watershed moment re:roundups and hopefully a positive domino effect to these others incl. the more barbaric Sweetwater event. Count me in as a supporter of whatever action is decided upon by Mikeyfresh Rochford et al-no naysaying from this corner of the forum. BUT I'm glad the approach is being refined here beforehand with some good suggestions/ideas and discussion.

I feel some obligation to show direct support to their new event in Claxton but attending was not an option this year due to financial and other reasons with my schedule; Alternatively I will take up writing a couple letters of support to the local officials and organizers commending them for their actions, and urge others here to consider doing the same. Remember that any current example isn't best seen as a 'finished product' and what initial changes to these events can be agreed upon are just a starting point and something to build upon over time.

Expecting to get them 'shut down' right off the back is simply unrealistic and I think a far too adamant/unforgiving approach that sets the bar unrealistically high only helps them pigeonhole/dismiss us as 'the adversary' e.g. 'environmentalist whacko tree-hugging hippie extremist commies', or whatever rounduppers call pro-rattler folks.



That being said-
Daryl Eby wrote: Additionally, while I blanch at the huge numbers that are harvested, I suspect that current harvest levels are fully sustainable..

Oh, Yeah?
Hmm. Reassurring as your suspicions are, I have a couple questions-
'Fully'?
For HOW long?
And what other environmental pressure did these roundups take the place of when they started what, in the fifties? (I know that seems like EONS ago heck that was back in the days of black and white TV, and for that matter, whites vs. colored's 'separate but equal' waterin' holes lol)
.....Or have the other ongoing pressures lessened to compensate for the jaycee's annual event's take? Because otherwise I just don't buy it Daryl....Seriously, explain it to me will you?

Any time someone here casually tosses out the assumption that roundup numbers of atrox are somehow-what,infinitely?-sustainable I think it's absolutely to be expected that they back it with some data or some other evidence that they actually do know what they're talking about, please? If nothing else, do it as a favor to your fellow fieldherpers if not out of simple respect for the species,huh?

This is just a real pet peeve of mine and I really would implore anyone to reconsider such short-sighted dismissals of the anthropomorphic effects, even on what's considered a more generalist/ 'common' species. This reminds me a little of so many folks I know that dismiss any possible validity of 'global warming'/climate change by pointing out the fact that 'hey, we just had a HUGE blizzard, man!' :lol: .....Or displayed politically every four years when any given administration gets burned at the statke/run out of town on rails for not being able to 'turn things around' as promised when really the dust has just settled from the last admin's moving vans.....It's exactly that-SHORT SIGHTED as I almost never really hear/see discussed, the cryptic factor of a time delay.

Simply put, SHIT TAKES TIME and what may be happening that you're NOT seeing in the immediate aftermath of you-name-it ?

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by ugh » March 12th, 2012, 6:34 am

Let me add that Eby you strike me as one of the more intelligent blokes on this forum so your comments had an element of surprise to me as well....

Also the choice in these folks' beer already had me holding them in disdain.....
Coors and Miller lite both SUCK ass frankly so I never did buy that shit anyway...
And the Santa mutilation thing should probably be reexamined Mike, I see that undercutting your credibility in their eyes a little bit...
And lastly I'd really consider leaving jesus whatshisname or some other godly BS out of it that will just totally derail things and get fugly in a hurry.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Paul White » March 12th, 2012, 6:47 am

They've been doing it 50 years; as far as extirpiations go that's pretty slow...I do know they upped the bounty this year, but they hadn't upped it in years. I'm not sure if it was just an adjustment for inflation type of deal or if they're actually seeing a drop off in snakes.

I don't have a moral problem with killing snakes just like I'd kill a fish. I do have a problem with the gassing dens, the torture, the inhumane conditions they're kept in for days, etc. That's what I really don't like.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by Daryl Eby » March 12th, 2012, 6:49 am

ugh wrote:Hmm. Reassurring as your suspicions are, I have a couple questions-
I did not state a fact, make a claim, or of lay out a theory. I simply voiced a suspicion (A feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true). My suspicion is based on the fecundity of atrox, available habitat, prey availability, and that despite decades of round-ups, they still manage to find similar numbers year after year.

My suspicion could certainly be wrong. If so, I would love to see some proof, or even strong evidence. After all, if the harvests are not sustainable, it would greatly strengthen our arguments against the round-ups.

Can you offer anything other than your own suspicions to counter mine? If I'm wrong, I want to know it so that I can abandon any false suspicions.
ugh wrote:Let me add that Eby you strike me as one of the more intelligent blokes on this forum...
Despite being flattered, I must now question your judgement. LOL. I'm just a yahoo that can't resist parroting the thoughts of others. Open minded and willing to learn? Yes. Particularly intelligent or well informed? Not necessarily. Thanks though.

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Re: World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up

Post by MonarchzMan » March 12th, 2012, 8:26 am

I feel like social media is probably the answer to this that has not been around for much of the time that these roundups have been around. I think it would take a powerful and creative video that could go viral and gain national attention. We've seen the pictures of beauty queens beheading snakes and then wiping the blood on a wall, smiling while doing it. We've seen skinned snakes nailed up. We've seen snakes piled on top of each other. We've seen all of this and it does elicit a gut reaction that we all hate. But that is because we have a personal interest in the animals. Most don't.

That's why I think a creative and powerful video could work wonders. Logic does not work with these people. Simply having a video saying the facts and figures why these roundups are a bad thing is not going to change minds, unfortunately. You have to appeal to people on an emotional level, while still keeping it logical and rational. I like the idea of trying to appeal to rage against animal cruelty without even mentioning snakes, initially. Get people supporting the idea of rounding up any animal for public display, torture, and slaughter is something we are morally against. Get them ticked off about it. Then introduce the idea that snakes deserve the same protections we would have against other animals.

But I think that the key is social media. We've seen several movements take off because it goes viral on social media (most recent being Kony 2012). I think it could be done with rattlesnake roundups, too, but it needs to be creative and elicit an emotional response in people. And it will take actively pursuing news outlets to get the word out all over.

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