‘You Gotta Love It': These Women Hunt Pythons in the Everglades for a Living

You might consider their passion unusual.

These two women have one mission: to protect the Everglades from Burmese pythons.

Beth Koehler and Peggy Van Gorder are among the several female hunters with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation's Python Removal Contractor Program.

"You gotta love it," Van Gorder said. "I don't think anyone else is making a living doing this."

Contractors survey specific areas for pythons, capture them and then deposit them -- live or euthanized -- at specific drop-off locations.

The biggest python they've caught was over 12 feet long and weighed 62 pounds.

"Probably took us 20 minutes to get to up to the road," Van Gorder said.

Some nights, they don't end up catching anything.

"You can spend an entire night here and not see them," Koehle said.

Koehler and Van Gorder have been working with the program for one year. They live in Tampa but come down to South Florida every few weeks to survey the Everglades.

They got into hunting back in 2016 when the FWC ran a python hunting challenge.

The women have learned a lot about not only the Burmese python but about themselves.

"It's not all about power," Koehler said. "It's all about technique to catch that snake."

To learn more about the FWC's Python Removal Contractor Program, click here.

Contact Us