Mississippi's Record-Breaking Gator Season
September 4, 2013 – This past weekend was a record breaker in Mississippi. Two groups of hunters broke the record for the largest gator caught in the state two separate times over the weekend, the opening weekend of alligator hunting season.
Because there are so many alligators in Mississippi and Louisiana the states' Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks department allow a legal alligator hunting season. It may seem cruel but the hunting season was created to control their numbers so that they don't start showing up in areas where humans live and work like farm ponds, highways, parking lots, and even swimming pools.
Early on Saturday morning amateur hunter Beth Trammell and her team of five broke the old record of 697.5 pounds when they caught an enormous 723.5-pound alligator. It took five hours of work and some help from passing hunters, but they were eventually able to reel in the giant gator!
"When we first saw him I yelled 'oh my gosh we caught the Loch Ness Monster," Trammell recalled.
But only two hours later another amateur hunter, Dustin Brockman, and his two helpers managed to catch a 727-pound alligator on his first catch! It took them four hours of struggling before they had to pull the alligator to a sandbar to wait for help. "My goal was to get a 10-footer. I couldn't believe it when it was that big!" Brockman exclaimed.
It is illegal to hunt alligators outside of the hunting season and anyone who hunts during hunting season must have a permit. This year was the first year that Mississippi held a state-wide alligator hunting season. Those who are allowed to participate were picked by a lottery.
The record-breaking gators didn't surprise Ricky Flint, the coordinator of the Mississippi Alligator Program. Since it is legal to hunt alligators all over Mississippi this year and not just in some regions, a lot of new hunting territory has been opened. "We expect the records to get broken and these will be broken, as well. Maybe before the end of the season," Flint said.