A Texas lawmaker recently nixed a proposal to outlaw gassing snake dens in order to capture them, and some are not happy about it.

Apparently, it’s now up for debate whether or not hunters should be allowed to use snake gassing. This method is the easiest way for hunters to drive snakes out of their dens so they can be used in the popular “rattlesnake roundup” carnival.

Those opposed to this method say it has considerable environmental consequences, which would make sense considering they’re dumping gas into the ground. Opponents also argue that it’s an “indiscriminate means to take.”

One particular reader of the Statesman, Collette Adkins, from the Center for Biological Diversity in Minnesota, blasted the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for nixing the ban proposal, saying in a letter to the editor they “bowed to narrow interests of rattlesnake hunters.”

“It is outrageous that Commission Chairman Dan Friedman – the billionaire CEO of Gulf States Toyota Distributors – single-handedly nixed the public hearing on the citizen petition seeking the ban,” she wrote.

Many rattlesnake events currently discourage the collection of snakes by gassing, and several organizers have expressed a desire to work cooperatively with TPWD and snake collectors to promote safe and effective collection practices.

Image courtesy Mike Johnston Flickr

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7 thoughts on “Texans Fighting for the Right to Pump Gasoline into Snake Dens to Flush them Out

  1. OK, so if snakes are underground or under a large rockpile, how are you supposed to “encourage” them to come out? Seems like the small amount of gas sprayed to irritate the snakes is pretty minimal over a large area.

    1. You don’t. You leave them alone and give them the respect they deserve, same as any other animal. The “small amount of gas” poured into their dens (as this article mentions with the phrase “indiscriminate means”) affects more than just these snakes. Many of these dens are made and inhabited by other animals as well, namely tortoises. Often times when flushed with gas, the burrow is destroyed and the animal inside is killed. More than 350 different species are dependent on tortoise burrows, and some of those species (rattlesnakes included) are in decline because of habitat loss and roundup pressure — just look at the status of the beautiful Eastern Diamond Back. As far as “pretty minimal over a large area” goes, it’s not. The people who go up and do this to these animals will visit 50+ burrows in one collection session, and when those burrows are destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by gasoline, that’s more than 50 animals who have lost a refuge from the elements or their place to stay for the winter, and they now have to migrate and exert energy to dig a new burrow. It’s also not even necessary for economic purposes. Places that have previously held rattlesnake roundups and have since replaced the program with celebrations of wildlife are just as successful, and a lot less destructive. There’s no excuse for these roundups. It’s barbaric and cruel.

  2. This is very wrong! Greedy snake hunters make 50.00 a skin. Show some respect for other creatures, as they also do good and enjoy their lives.

  3. It figures, the government is on the side of the snakes of society. One should have seen this coming ! Creatures out of habit defend their own.

  4. Does anyone have any clue as to how many ratlers are there in Texas ? They should sell flame throwers for the job. Every citizen should have one in their backyard just to kill those snakes !

  5. Gosh, wot’s the problem? My grandpappy used to shoot Passenger pigeons! You shoot the most, you win the prize!
    Grandpappy once shot 3,571 pigeons in ONE HOUR! And almost won a Gold medal!
    He came in 14th I think.
    Now, ain’t no more passenger pigeons, but we got lots of snakes! So I say let’s see who can kiill the most! Yee-Haw!
    Ah kin hardly wait!
    And we can feed the carcasses to the black folk and the starvin’ Mexicans before POTUS kicks ’em out!
    Too bad ain’t no more passenger pigeons! I heard they was good eatin! And good sport!
    Anyone that bans this sport IS UN-AMERICAN!

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