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Discussion Starter #1
This warm weather has me thinking snakes and really bummed that the Sinnemahoning snake hunt is canceled this year.

Being new to the sport I have a couple questions and can't really seem to find answers anywhere so I thought I would ask here. I know there is a designated season for rattlesnakes that doesn't start until June 13th and runs through the end of July. Is this just if you plan on harvesting a snake or does that include even looking for them? With this nice weather and not much to do during this virus madness, I was thinking it would be nice to kick around a little and look for some new spots. I obviously don't want to jump the gun and do anything illegal by going out before June 13th but if I am just looking and not harvesting, I didn't think there would be much of an issue. Other then maybe not disturbing them during breeding season or something.

That kind of rolls in to my next question. If I don't have any intention on harvesting a snake, do I need to buy a venomous permit to look for them? I have always bought one in the past but don't have much of a desire to keep one. I could kind of see this working like a fishing license. Even if you plan on catch and release, you still need to purchase a fishing license. Or as long as I have my fishing license and don't harvest any, am I good not purchasing a permit?

Thanks in advance and stay safe!
 

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If you are going out with tongs or hooks I would definitely suggest a permit along with your fishing license.

I always look when I'm on a hike, but have no intention of handling, moving posing for pictures with the snake. Saw 3 last year..was thrilled to see them and all were left with the fond memory of seeing me!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info, that makes complete sense. I figured if one wanted to really push it they could say they are looking for other snakes with hooks and tongs but why risk it.

I guess just handling them would fall under hunting or catching.
 

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Tom is dead on and I will add that you do not want to handle one before or after the season. If caught handling a snake before or after the season it can end up in a license suspension. I know a guy who was moving one off a roadway to save it from being run over when along came a warden, he lost his license for 1 year.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info John, definitely don't want to be doing any of that and risking my license.

I will probably just hold tight for a few more weeks. Being fairly new to the sport, I'm not sure I'd feel confident enough going in to snake country without my hook and tongs. Even if I don't have intentions on handling them in anyway, it's nice to have them in case I find myself in an awkward predicament.
 

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Question, if there is not a contest why would you be handling/catching any rattlers.If you like to observe them no license needed. I found it interesting that if you remove one from the road so it does not get ran over by a car you are in violation. Is that because the higher ups in the PGC do not trust the judgement of their officers of when it is appropriate to issue a citation.
 

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The PGC has nothing to do with rattlesnakes. We still catch them even when there aren't any hunts because we love doing it.
True,but the game commission can arrest you for illegal hunting activity, ie: hunting out of season, hunting without a permit, or in posession of an untagged snake.
 

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I'm not saying they couldn't but the fish commission are the ones in charge of rattlesnakes. How did this conversation turn into illegal activity anyway? The question was why would you catch them with the contests being canceled. I will be in the mountains of north central PA catching snakes June 13th even though Sinnemahoning snake hunt has been canceled.
 

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John you are correct. So you catch them. Then what. I am still looking for an answer. And I did say PGC instead of Pa. Fish Commission, don't get me started on that absurdity.
 

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I am just saying the game commission can, and will fine a person caught doing any illegal activity with Pa's timber rattlers. The fish commission handles the licencing. Need a fishing license to obtain a rattler permit.
 

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You catch them, tube them, determine male or female, measure the length of the snake and record it. At the end of the season each snake you caught should be on your report which is then sent to the fish commission to help with the study of the eastern timber rattlesnake. You also record the county and township the snake was caught in.
 
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