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Larue Sheffield shows a snake’s fangs during last year’s Whigham Rattlesnake Roundup.

A creature who cohabits in the wild with the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake is making it difficult for serpent hunters to take to the woods early to search for the reptiles.

Rattlesnake hunters used to begin hunting the serpents in November — around first frost — in preparation for the Roundup in late January.

“More and more land is leased to hunt deer,” said Barry Strickland, Whigham resident and longtime Roundup official.

People hunting for snakes while others are hunting for deer on the same land is not a good combination, Strickland, Roundup snake ring coordinator, explained.

Also, he said, deer season has been extended.

The situation leaves only a couple of weeks between the end of deer-hunting season and the Roundup for snake hunters to look for the rattlers.

“The hunters are out there hunting now,” Strickland said, adding that some take time off from work to hunt.

Ken Darnell will return to the Roundup to extract venom from rattlesnakes. Darnell, who also will talk about the reptiles, sells components of the venom for use in medical research.

People will stand several deep around the fenced-in snake ring to watch Darnell extract the venom, to listen to his talks and to observe the rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnakes may be viewed throughout the day at the event — the 57th annual.

See Thursday's edition for more details.

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