Hunter captures 14-foot python in Everglades

A python hunter captured a 14-foot python in the Everglades, the 50th to be removed by hunters during the state’s Python Elimination Program.

The hunter, Dustin Crum, showed off the giant python that he caught for the Python Elimination Program.

“Just four foot of it was just sticking out of the thick there, and I saw his head, and his head was about the size of my hand,” Crum said.

Crum managed to wrangle the 14-foot snake with just his hands.

“I just had to grab him with two hands and drag him out of there,” Crum said. “He’s striking. He was really mean.”

The program has not even reached the halfway point.

All hunters are paid hourly and will receive additional cash depending on the size of the snake.

Crum captured the reptile out near the site of the 1996 ValuJet crash off the Tamiami Trail.

“Now I know how Hulk Hogan felt when he was up against André the Giant,” he said.

The python was long, but not long enough to take the record. All stretched out, the snake measured 14 feet 6 inches and weighs 70 pounds.

The fight left Crum with a small trophy.

“This snake here, I actually got a little tooth stuck in my finger,” he said. “I thought it was a splinter and I started picking it out and it ended up being a python tooth. So that’s a little different.”

The South Florida Water Management District sponsors the Python Elimination Program to rid the Everglades of burmese pythons.

The reptiles are a threat to the swamp land’s delicate ecosystem.

The program began on March 25 and will run until June 1.

“What we’re gonna do is incentivize these elite hunters with minimum wage per hour for the two month or so period,” Randy Smith of the SFWMD said. “And then the bounty for the snakes is $50 for a snake that’s four feet and $25 per foot for every foot after the initial four, so in this case the big snake is worth about $350.”

Crum said he’s not hunting yet. He has his sights set on a 16-footer and is ready to return to the swamp.

“The snake might get me one day but hopefully I might have somebody with me who might unwrap me,” he said.

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