Snakes slither in and out of Noxen

The Noldy family of Hop Bottom listens in as Pa. Fish and Boat Commission volunteer Stan Boder shares some of the features of the rattlesnake. From left are dad Kevin Noldy; son Kevin, 9; daughter Jessie, 7; and daughter, Jordan. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

The Noldy family of Hop Bottom listens in as Pa. Fish and Boat Commission volunteer Stan Boder shares some of the features of the rattlesnake. From left are dad Kevin Noldy; son Kevin, 9; daughter Jessie, 7; and daughter, Jordan. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Kevin Noldy of Hop Bottom said he’s seen his share of black and garter snakes, but Sunday was a Father’s Day first.

He saw a rattlesnake for the first time, up close and personal.

And, he was impressed at how informative the Noxen Fire Co.’s Rattlesnake Roundup was.

“This is really interesting,” Noldy said, while his nine-year-old son by the same name stroked the animal’s body as Fish and Boat Commission volunteer biologist talked about the poisonous snake’s features.

“That is really neat,” the youth said, while admitting he was glad the animal wasn’t capable of striking as its head was in a plastic tube.

About 30 feet away another dad, Glen Elsworth III of Sweet Valley was also beaming because not only did his 14-year-old bag a rattlesnake, but so did dad.

His shirt noted, “This is what a really cool dad looks like.”

Noxen Fire Chief Lew Hackling said on Saturday, it was three hours into the weekend hunt before the first rattlesnake was brought in.

“Yeah, I was a little concerned,” he said, “But I knew they were out there.”

At the end of Saturday eight rattlesnakes were brought in.

By the end of Sunday, some 53 registered hunters brought in 18 total rattlesnakes, five copperheads and 16 nonpoisonous snakes.

Although down by about a third from the 66 snakes brought in 2012, Hackling proclaimed the hunt a success for the fire company which used the weekend to educate the public about the slithering reptiles.
The largest light phase rattler was 51” brought in by Don Webber; and dark phase was also 51” in a tie for snakes brought in by caught by Fawne Hopfer and Thomas Gaeta. Most rattles belonged to Ronald Reed with 13. The lunker of the hunt was a 38-pound tie between Don Webber and Glen Ellsworth III.

Most species brought in belonged to Glen Ellsworth IV with nine. The largest copperhead belonged to Donna Kime at 40” and the largest non venomous snake, a black rat snake belonged to Jim Finnegan.