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Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl Competition Rules

Introduction

Want to win prizes for removing pythons as part of the Florida Python Challenge™? Then you must adhere to the following rules in order to qualify for prizes.

Registration

  • You must register online for the 2020 Florida Python Challenge™ Python Bowl and pay the registration fee.
    1. The registration fee is $25.
    2. Individuals can register in one of two competition categories:
      • Pro:  Includes paid python removal contractors for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) or the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Python Removal Volunteer Authorized Agents for the National Park Service (NPS)
        • Any person who registers under “Rookie” that is currently a paid python removal contractor or an NPS volunteer agent will be moved to the “Pro” category.
        • "Pro” participants must follow their respective contract requirements when participating in the competition as paid contractors. When participating as paid contractors, "Pros” are allowed special access in the Competition Locations as allowed by their contracts.
      • Rookie:  Includes anyone that does not fall in the “Pro” Category.
      • Additional Military Recognition: Active Duty Military Personnel and Veterans may be eligible for additional prizes. 
      • Note: FWC, SFWMD and NPS employees may register and participate in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl but shall not be eligible for any prizes.
  • You must be 18 years of age or older to register for the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl. Children under 18 years old may accompany a registered adult. Parents accept all liability for their children’s participation.
  • Once registered for the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl, you will receive an email notification confirming your registration was completed successfully. This notification, whether hard copy or electronic, must be carried with you while participating.
  • All participants must agree to a waiver of liability for themselves and any youth accompanying them upon completion of the required online training.
  • Registrants may not have had any prior convictions for fish or wildlife violations or animal cruelty, including violations of Title 68, Florida Administrative Code, or Chapters 379 or 828, Florida Statutes.
  • Before registering for the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl, you are required to take the Python Challenge™ Online 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 and pass the quiz at the end by scoring at least 80% in order to register for the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl.
  • Registration paid to the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is non-refundable. Registration funds will support this event and future non-native species removal activities. 

Competition Locations

Registered participants may remove Burmese pythons from the following competition locations and must abide by all other specific area regulations:

^ A SFWMD Special Use License is required for vehicle access and will be available at the entrance, subject to availability. Vehicles shall not be permitted after 5:00 p.m. each day at these locations.

*Dove hunts will occur on January 11 and 18, 2020 in Frog Pond PSGHA. Certain areas will be marked as closed during these dates. Please see Area Map for details.

**A valid hunting license is required in Big Cypress WMA unless exempted by state hunting regulations or if “Pro” participants are FWC contractors acting under their authorizations from the FWC. Participants registered as "Rookie” must follow all relevant hunting requirements for Small Game Season on Big Cypress WMA, including obtaining a check station pass.

Access Points and Check-Station Locations

Area Maps

Download a printable PDF of the general competition rules.

Collecting Burmese Pythons

  • The Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl python removal competition occurs from 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 10 to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, January 19, 2020.
  • You must carry a copy of your Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl registration notification in your possession, either paper or electronic, when participating in the competition. 
  • Anyone under the age of 18 must be supervised by a registered adult when removing Burmese pythons during the competition.
  • Only Burmese pythons removed from the Competition Locations during the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl are valid entries for the competition. Registered participants are responsible for reviewing and following all Competition Rules.
  • Participants may remove pythons 24 hours a day except on Big Cypress WMA where pythons may only be taken during regular hunting hours: ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset.  
  • Discharge of a gun to take pythons may only occur from ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset on all Competition Locations.
  • Pythons must be humanely killed at the Competition Location at which it is found and turned in dead at a Florida Python Challenge ™ 2020 Python Bowl check-station. Live transport of pythons outside of any Competition Location is prohibited except for by "Pro” participants acting in their capacity as paid contractors.
  • Check-stations are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., except January 10 when check stations will open at 10:00 a.m. If you collect a python outside of the check station hours, pythons must be humanely killed prior to leaving the area and submitted to a check-station within 24 hours of capture. 
  • Use of gun and light at night is prohibited.
  • Taking pythons with a gun on, from or across levees or the right-of-way of roads is prohibited.
  • See area regulation hyperlink under Competition Locations for additional information regarding legal methods for taking pythons.
  • Use of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) is prohibited, except on Big Cypress WMA where a valid National Park Service Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) permit is required for any ORV use.
  • A valid hunting license is required in Big Cypress WMA unless exempted by state hunting regulations or if “Pro” participants are FWC contractors acting under their authorizations from the FWC. Participants registered as "Rookie” must follow all relevant hunting requirements for Small Game Season on Big Cypress WMA, including obtaining a check station pass.
  • Commercial recreational activities, such as but not limited to airboat rides, guide services, or other tourist services are prohibited in Conservation Area 3A South (south of I-75 and west of the Miami Canal) in Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, unless authorized by the Miccosukee Tribe, which has the exclusive right to provide such services in the leased area.
  • Commercial operations in Big Cypress WMA require a permit from the NPS in advance of conducting these activities.
  • Parking or driving airboats or other vehicles on tree islands or the surrounding fringe vegetation is prohibited. Cutting, damaging or removing any natural, manmade or cultural resources is also prohibited, including cutting down vegetation on tree islands. Do not remove anything from the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl Competition Locations other than Burmese pythons.
  • Road-killed Burmese pythons are not counted towards the competition, but the FWC would like to receive reports of any pythons seen. Please provide the road kill data to www.IveGot1.org.
  • Snake hooks, snake tongs, snake bags, noose poles and long-handled non-motorized tools may be used to capture Burmese pythons by hand.
  • Use of traps, bait, explosives, chemicals, smoke and motorized tools is prohibited.
  • Florida state statutes require that harvested pythons must be killed humanely. For more information, please refer to 828.12 (F.S.), which prohibits inhumane treatment of animals. More information is found in the 2020 Florida Python Challenge™ document on humane methods for killing pythons.

Submitting Burmese Pythons

  • All captured pythons must be transported to an official Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl check-station location. Live transport of pythons outside of any Competition Location is prohibited. If you collect a python outside of the check-station hours, pythons must be killed humanely prior to leaving the area and submitted to the nearest accessible Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl check-station within 24 hours of capture.
  • A datasheet must be completed and submitted with each Burmese python upon submission to the check-station. Burmese pythons submitted without the completed datasheet will not be included in the competition. Datasheets must be printed by the participant and filled out in the field with appropriate location data.
    • Participants in the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl are encouraged to voluntarily turn in datasheets for pythons that were seen but not captured. Additionally, information on where pythons are not being observed can be as valuable as where pythons are observed.
    • All pythons submitted will be held by the University of Florida until the end of the competition. If you would like your carcass back, please mark that on the submitted datasheet and the University of Florida will work with you to return the carcass. All costs for shipping are the responsibility of the participant.

Prize Determination

  • All prize determinations will be conducted by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida (FWFF) in coordination with the FWC and SFWMD, at their sole discretion. All prizes will be provided by the FWFF.
  • Staff members of the FWC, SFWMD, NPS, or FWFF are ineligible for prizes.
  • Burmese pythons submitted after 5:00 p.m. on Sunday January 19, 2020 shall not be considered for prizes.
  • All Burmese pythons will be verified, measured and weighed using a standardized protocol. These data will be used to determine competition winners, and all decisions will be finalized before the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 25, 2020.
  • Snakes harvested and submitted dead should be in no more than two pieces (e.g., the head removed from the body) to be eligible for the longest Burmese python prize.
  • 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 longest snake, the award will be given to the participant with the python that is the longest and weighs the most.
  • You need to be present at the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl awards event on Saturday, January 25th, 2020 to be eligible to collect any prizes that you have won.
  • Participants that win monetary prizes will need to fill out an IRS Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification) prior to receiving their winnings. Monetary winners can fill out the required W-9 form at the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl awards event on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Monetary winners that do not attend the awards event will receive a W-9 form by mail and will have 30 days to return the completed form to the FWFF.
  • Monetary winners that do not submit a completed W-9 form within 30 days of receipt will forfeit their prize.

Disqualifications

  • You will be disqualified from the competition and ineligible to win any prizes if you:
    1. Submit false information on your registration.
    2. Submit a python that has been collected outside of the Competition Locations of the competition.
    3. Collect and/or submit a native Florida snake.
    4. Submit a python originally possessed as a pet.
    5. Submit a python originally possessed for commercial use.
    6. Are found to have inhumanely killed a snake.
    7. Are found to have kept any live snake.
    8. Post inhumane photos or videos or otherwise inappropriate videos or photos related to the Python ChallengeTM on social media.
    9. Are found to have used collected pythons for any type of public or private exhibition.
  • Any participant or person who violates any rules of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, South Florida Water Management District, National Park Service, the Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), or Florida State Statutes (F.S.), shall be subject to disqualification from the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl as well as be charged accordingly for said violation. Persons disqualified from the contest will not receive a refund of their entry fee.