Gator Hunt Makes Headlines
In USA Today Gator Hunt Makes Headlines In USA Today

Spotlighting for gators is critical to hunting these marsh-loving ironclads. But now it seems gator hunting is in the media’s spotlight too.

Hunters spotlighted and buoyed this gator in marshland near St. Simons Island, Ga. Photo Credit: PJ Perea

Hunters spotlighted and buoyed this gator in marshland near St. Simons Island, Ga. Photo Credit: PJ Perea

An account of a Mississippi hunt for a record-breaking gator was picked up by the Associated Press and featured on USA Today’s  homepage earlier this month. The hunt made a nice story of endurance and patience, as an unlikely group of Mississippi hunters tapped into the same vibe readers get from Hemingway’s classic “The Old Man and the Sea.” Man vs. a gigantic fish. The man had the fish, but then the fish nearly had the man. In this case, a few men tugged on a line, set by a crossbow, connected to a 727-pound, 13-foot gator. Twelve hours after the hunt began, the men sat on a sandbar swatting swarming mosquitoes while waiting for help and keeping vigil over their buoyed gator. Ironically, this 727-pound gator broke a state record that was only an hour old. Earlier that night, a 723-pound gator was recorded as the state record. Records are made to be shattered, of course, and this one shattered at lightning speed.

People Have Been Telling Hunting Stories For At Least 50,000 Years

Seems like people are going back to what they’ve always done: telling and listening to good hunting stories, whether they’re in a book, in the news or just told aloud by family or hunting buddies. As Steven Rinella wrote in the opening paragraph of his recent book, “Meateater,” hunting stories were told by man 50,000 years ago, and likely way earlier.

Archer rock art, South Africa. Photo: Tim Parkinson. (Flickr, used under a CC BY 3.0)

Archer rock art, South Africa. Photo: Tim Parkinson. (Flickr, used under a CC BY 3.0)

“This book has a hell of a lot going for it, simply because it’s a hunting story. That’s because hunting stories are the oldest and most widespread form of story on earth. The genre has been around so long, and has such deep roots, that it extends beyond humans. When two wolves meet up, they’ll often go through a routine of smelling each other’s breath. For a wolf to put his nose to another wolf’s mouth is to pose a question: ‘What happened while you were hunting?’ To exhale is to answer: ‘You can still smell the blood.’

 6 Geeked Out Gator Facts

  1. Armored. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service describes the alligator as an “armored reptile” related to the crocodile.
  2. Tootsies. An alligator’s front feet have five toes, while its rear feet have only four toes, which are webbed.
  3. Home States. Here are the states where alligators live in the United States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
  4. Diet. Juvenile alligators eat primarily insects, invertebrates, amphibians and small fish. Adult alligators eat rough fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals and birds.
  5. Next Gen. Gators don’t mate until they’re about 7 feet long. So how long does it take gators to reach this length? For males, it’s eight to 12 years. And for females, 10 to 15 years. Mating occurs in May or June, and eggs are hatched from late August to early September.
  6. Jaw Strength. After eight days of testing 60 gators, Florida State University professor Greg Erikson recorded a bite Gators bite down with force equivalent to the weight of a small pickup truck. with 2,125 pounds of force. That’s a force equal to the weight of a small pickup truck. By contrast, National Geographic reported last year that saltwater crocodiles have the strongest bite, chopping down with 3,700 pounds of force per square inch.

Anatomy and habitat facts courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Diet and reproduction facts are courtesy of Florida Fish and wildlife Conservation Commission.

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