2017-07-17 / Today's Top Stories

Monroeton Rod and Gun Club hosts annual rattlesnake hunt

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By Nathan Brown

Staff Writer

MONROE TOWNSHIP -- The Monroeton Rod and Gun Club has been educating the community about the venomous snakes of the area with its annual rattlesnake hunt.

The two day event, which is one of five of its kind across the Commonwealth, drew in thousands of attendees, predicted Treasurer Steve Benjamin.

It originated as a form of fundraising to help the Rod and Gun Club to remain in operation. Although the event still serves as a fundraiser, it is more geared toward a community affair, said Benjamin.

“It gives the public a chance to come down and see them (the snakes),” remarked Benjamin.

Several timber rattlesnakes, and even copperheads -- the two types of venomous snakes found in the area -- were on display for the community to come and witness.

Benjamin stated that the Barclay Mountain area is a hotspot for the snakes, especially rattlesnakes.

Snake hunters from across the area and out of town head out both Saturday and Sunday mornings to find one of the snakes to be features at the event. Each snake found and brought to the location on Kellogg Road must then be put back exactly where it was found the same day it was caught, according to Benjamin.

The hunters must have a special Pennsylvania Game Commission license in order to capture the venomous snakes. The Monroeton Rod and Gun Club too had to acquire a special permit to host the event and the snakes at its facility.

A professional snake handler was on scene both days, as he and his crew carefully handled the snakes inside the “pit” at the club.

Periodically throughout the day, the venomous snakes were put into special snake-crates as the professional team brought out non-venomous snakes that they brought with them, for the community to see.

Children were allowed to hold and interact with the slithering creatures as part of the event.

Additionally, the professional team talked about the snakes and what to do if one were to encounter them. Educational displays were set up to show what to do if one was ever bitten by a rattlesnake or copperhead.

Benjamin also stated that throughout the near 50 years that the event has been hosted, there has never been one incident involving a snake and a person.

“Not even a close call,” he stated.

Benjamin also took the time to thank the Pennsylvania Game Commission for its involvement in allowing the event to be hosted and for the ability to show the snakes to the community.

“A lot of people think of the Game Commission as the bad guys,” said Benjamin on Sunday. “They’re very helpful and want to see events like this happen.”

Also featured at the event were vendors, games and various types of foods.

Nathan Brown can be reached at (570) 265-2151 ext. 1639 or email: nbrown@thedailyreview.com.

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