Getting ready for the Noxen Rattlesnake Round-up

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NOXEN, WYOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s an annual event that’s not for the squeamish. It’s the Noxen Rattlesnake Round-up. Eyewitness News Reporter Anja Whitehead takes us to Wyoming County as they get ready for the big event.

It’s a sound you can hear all throughout the hills of Noxen and most of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“Snakes are very misunderstood,” Lew Hackling, Fire Chief of Noxen Volunteer Fire Company said. “All the way back to biblical times they’ve been considered evil, etc. They are a huge part of our ecosystem and they’re actually a candidate for the endangered species list.”

The Noxen Volunteer Fire Department has held the Rattlesnake Round-up for over 30 years. It’s a huge competition that Fawne Hopfer has grown up doing.

“They’ve been here since I can remember,” Hopfer says. “I remember we’d take them out to let them stretch in jugs before we put them back. We’d have them out in the yard and I’d go out and watch them all laying there.”

The event helps raise money for the fire company so they can keep saving lives.

“By and far this is our largest fundraiser,” Hackling said. “Over the years its raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for our fire department, which helps us protect the community we serve.”

The roundup can be dangerous, hunters have to have a special license and a permit before they can hit the hills.

“You’re not like running out and grabbing snakes that are striking at you or trying to get you,” Hopfer explains. “You’re really just kind of showing up in their home and then pulling them out.”

When all the festivities are over, the snakes are released back to the exact location they were found.

For ten to twelve years the fish and boat commission had tagged the snakes with an RFID chip,” Hackling said. “We average 10-15% of recapture, so the environmental side of that is working, and we’re seeing the snakes time and time again.”

Some of the prizes at the roundup include largest dark and light face rattlers, most rattles, and heaviest snake.


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