Gators Aplenty-Florida Gator Hunting

A friend of mine recently invited me on a Florida gator hunt.  I was quite interested, so I did a bit more digging.  Florida state biologists estimate a population of about 1.5 million gators in the state.  The first season began in 1988.  Last year a reported 6,200 animals were harvested.  About 6,000 permits were issued in 2009.  Thousands more were trapped by nuisance alligator hunters.  In Florida, all hunts occur at night using so-called primitive methods such as archery, harpoon or crossbow.  There is a fascinating article on a “Fishing” methodology using heavy salt water tackle.  It allows for catch and release if the gator is smaller than was originally estimated.  Check out the article http://blog.al.com/press-register-sports/2009/09/floridas_alligator_season_goin.html

This 13 foot, 700 pounds gator was harvested by Joe McDaniel with Guide Phil Waiters on Lake Seminole Georgia.  Florida’s record gator was also 13 feet long, but weighed an impressive 1,043 pounds.

This giant gator was taken by huntress Arianne Prevost in 2009 with a crossbow.  Click on the image to see the Foxnews story.  The gator was 11 feet long and weighed an estimated 450 pounds.

In my research I came across one must read story of a not so bright gator poacher who offered to sell some gator legs to the game warden http://www.outdoorlife.com/blogs/newshound/2007/08/bad-timing

If anyone has any first hand experience of gator hunting, I’d love to hear your stories.

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One Response to “Gators Aplenty-Florida Gator Hunting”

  1. Silver Fox Says:

    GWH-
    My cousin, GO Par####, used to have a gator farm (3,000+ gators) out of Bushnell many years ago before every Tom, Dick and Harry got into the act. He could go from hatchling to 6 ft in about 18 months with a controlled, indoor environment – 95 degrees F and 95 % rel humidity – and segregation by age to prevent fighting for primo hides and meat plus much chicken and fish scraps feed. It’s not economical anymore (due to competition and onerous regulations), and the gator population has rebounded until they’re a nuisance again. In actuality, they were relatively scarce but never really endangered, but the enviros created a fake controversy to get rid of the hide trade. Locally, fried gator tail and frog legs remained a favorite!

    JC

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