The Rattlesnake Round-Up!

Morris holds 62nd annual Rattlesnake Round-Up!

by Sara Vogt – June 12, 2017

On June 10th and 11th, the 62nd Annual Rattlesnake Round-up was held and sponsored by the Morris Fire Company and Ambulance Association. Home Page correspondent Sara Vogt attended the event and spoke with a variety of individuals about the history and purpose of the Morris Rattlesnake Round-up. She begins her journey of discovery with Chad Lauer, Waterways Conservation Officer for the Northcentral Region of Pennsylvania. (Sara had met Chad on the Pine Creek Rail Trail recently while on a shoot for Movin’ Together. At that time, she had never seen a rattlesnake, but had expressed to Chad her desire to see one in captivity for her first experience. Hence her journey to Morris for the annual round-up.)

​​Chad detailed the round-up’s benefit to the community both through the support of small vendors who come to sell their wares, and by serving as a fundraiser for the all-volunteer Morris Fire Company, which is continually helping those in need.
Officer Lauer also stated, “It certainly benefits the Fish and Boat Commission. People buy licenses to provisionally hunt here; a permit that has a fee associated with it, and that money is all put back into managing timber rattlesnakes and northern copperheads.”
Chad accompanies Sara to the rattlesnake pit so she can view one of these creatures for the first time and gain some understanding of them and how to respect them in the wild. In the pit we met Stacy Foster who works with Wildlife Specialists in the area. Sara has her first opportunity to see and touch a rattlesnake in captivity … and perhaps it will not be the last time that she will see one of these amazing creatures, as she will be continuing to ride the Pine Creek Rail Trail!

Chad speaks very highly of the professional handling of the snakes; the care and concern not to harm them in their capture. He also talks about the safe way in which the rattlesnakes are shown to the adults and children, and the fact that part of this hunt involves releasing the snakes back into the wild where they were found once the event is over.

Inside the Morris Fire Station, Sara spoke with Melanie Herb and Amos Osborne about the round-up. Amos, who is the assistant chief of the company, has been involved with the Annual Rattlesnake Round-up for 55 years! When asked how many rattlesnakes he had caught over his lifetime, he responded that he once caught twenty-two rattlesnakes in one day. He expressed his enjoyment of the catch like any hunter would. Of course, Sara wanted to know what she and others should do if they do see a snake on the Pine Creek Rail Trail and Amos responded, “Look at it and go. Don’t mess with it. They are going to defend themselves. Stop, look at them and go.”

Mel, the President of the Ambulance Association and Morris Fire Department Secretary, has many responsibilities for the round-up, such as ordering supplies and organizing the flea market. The money acquired through this fundraiser helps to pay for equipment maintenance and purchasing safety equipment, along with everyday operating expenses like electric, phone, wifi, and insurance, which is one of the biggest expenses they have at this time. They currently operate three engines (one of which is housed at the Cogan House sub-station), one tanker, one patrol vehicle, two rescue vehicles, two six-wheelers, one side-by-side, and two ambulances. Mel reminds us, “These fundraisers are what allow us to keep serving our community, being able to protect our neighbors. Our ambulance motto is Neighbors Helping Neighbors and people coming out and helping us raise funds really is neighbors helping us be neighbors.”

For more information on the Morris Fire Company please go to their website listed below.

For more information on the habitat and behavior of timber rattlesnakes go to these links to find out more.

Idea/Concept: Sara Vogt
Videography: Erin O’Shea
Video Editing: Erin O’Shea
Writing: Sara Vogt
Correspondent: Sara Vogt

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