Big Ole' Gator
I figured that since my screen name is Gatorfan, it is only appropriate that I share a story about gator hunting. Although the story does not involve me, I found it to be very rewarding none-the-less. I grew up in Central Florida and can remember plenty of nights bass fishing the local lakes, ponds, and golf courses. Back then (early 80's), there wasn't a season for gator hunting and it was therefore illegal to kill a gator unless it was in self defense. I had a couple of those self defense occurences in my time, but only once did I have to follow through with destroying the gator.
I happened to be bass fishing at a golf course and was crouching down beside the pond, using the moonlight to see my line, when all of a sudden I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. As soon as it registered that it was a gator, the gator and I simultaneously went into action/reaction mode. I jumped and he came after me! My buddy was only 20-30 feet away from me and immediately grabbed one of the rakes from the sand trap that was right beside us. By the time I had collected my wits and knew what was going on, this 5-6 foot gator was getting pounded with a bunker rake (pretty funny in hindsight). I eventually grabbed the other rake and we finished the gator off. Through the years we noticed that there always seemed to be more and more gators roaming around during the spring, but never connected the dots to the mating season. Now, I realize that most of the gators that were roaming around during this time of the year were actually males out looking for their scaly girlfriends. I had many more encounters during my teenage years that involved close calls of the reptile dimension, but this one was by far as close as I wanted to experience.
Flash forward twenty plus years and I find myself now transplanted to California after retiring from the Navy. I have a brother-in-law that lives in Central Florida and his brothers have been trying to get him to go gator hunting with them. My sister has not been too keen on the whole idea of him heading out in a 14 foot John boat while chasing after the elusive 14 foot gator. Well, my brother-in-law's brothers did not help his cause much this past spring when they returned from their first successful hunt! The gator measure a little over 12 1/2 feet and that was with a little bit of its tail missing from an apparent battle with another big boy!
My sister is now standing her ground and doesn't want her hubby to have anything to do with this hunt at all. I think I will just have to plan a trip back east some time during the season and maybe put a little peer pressure on her! I have to get in on this!