Alligator hunting in southwest Alabama got underway Thursday night, August 8, 2019 and there were some big ones weighed-in. One of those monsters came from the Three Rivers area on the Fort Morgan peninsula. The Flora-Bama sponsored team landed a big one, giving them a big story to tell.
On little to no sleep, they spent part of the day Friday reliving the night before. The crew has hunted alligators together before, but this is the first time they’ve had this kind of success.
“Just the enthusiasm, the excitement, the adrenalin and especially, he’s there. It’s like, oh, nature. We’ve got to be careful. We could get seriously hurt and you have to be on top of everything so it was phenomenal. It was great,” said team leader, Kent Sanderson.
At 10 feet – 9 inches, the 348-pound gator gave them about all they could handle. Once hooked, it took more than two hours to tire it out and get it to the boat. So, what’s it like to battle something tis size?
“It’s dead weight initially and then when he starts doing that death roll, the frightening thing is he’s pulling you to him, so you’re trying to bring him to the boat and he panics and spins and all of a sudden you’re getting closer than you want to get,” explained team member, Todd Huffstutler. “You’re trying to reel him up and you both meet at the side of the boat there and it’s uh…that’ a moment.”
State wildlife officials said there were 14 alligators weighed in the first night at its Five Rivers facility on the causeway. The largest measured 11 and a half feet. The coastal region is the newest, this being only the fifth year it’s been open, and it paid off for the Flora-Bama crew. They said the alligators they encountered were less wary that their delta cousins.
So, they weren’t familiar with being hunted. They were a lot more tamer,” Sanderson said. “We could come up on them easier and I just always thought this was the place to get a gator.”
Hunters must have their tag drawn from a lottery to participate. If you’re considering putting your name in the hat, here’s something to consider.
“When the gator comes up and he’s two-thirds the size of the boat and he’s not happy about being hooked, it puts fishing at a whole different level,” explained team member, Matt Peterson.
The team had the alligator on ice and said they will process the meat, so it will not go to waste. Alligator hunts continue Friday and Saturday nights, August 9th and 10th. The hunt will then break for a few days and resume the following Thursday through Saturday nights.