Spring Break Gator Hunt

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After talking with a guy who had some available alligator tags, I hastily made my way from my college near Toledo, OH to Arcadia, FL. The drive was epic. I took my dad's Toyota Camry, and strapped my kayak to the top. It was a marathon of a drive, but after 20 some hours, I made it to Florida worn out and dizzy from the trip.

At 9:30am, I met Brad, my connection and guide, and we headed to the ranch we were going to hunt. Quite unexpectedly, the method of hunting was more spot and stalk than I had anticipated.

We had no problems getting after it and spotting some gators, the problem was me hitting them. I was using my 30-06 with a 6x scope, and just couldn't seem to connect.

After making some adjustments, we went out again and looked for more gators. we found a heck of a toad too. (I learned later that this gator was over 10' long) I tried a hasty stalk as the brute was cruising through the water. I crawled through some tall grass and popped out from behind a live-oak complete with spanish moss... and nothing... nothing but an intense stinging sensation all over my legs. FIRE ANTS! and boy did they have the upper hand!

After taking care of my insect problem, I leaned up against that live-oak hoping that gator would come back up on the bank... and... MORE FIRE ANTS!

So I decided that after all the heck I raised getting bit by fire ants, I wasn't going to see that gator for a week, so we ventured on.

Towards the end of the day, we found a decent sized gator sunning in the shallows and instantly my newly zeroed firearm rang out a crisp note of death. The only thing that punctauted the stillness of the aftermath of my muzzle blast was the roar of water as the gator writhed in nerve induced convulsions. The shot completely removed the animals cerebrum, so conscious movement was not an option.

After a more than anxious retrieve, we tagged the gator and put it in cold storage. The only logical thing to do after such a fun day, was to head out for some drinks! Which I know now is always a mistake. But I was younger... and I recovered.

The next day I learned how to dress out a gator, and took quite a bit of meat home for my friends and family. Not to mention, having one of the greatest experiences of my youth.

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  An AWESOME story shared

 

An AWESOME story shared here!  From gators in Florida to goats in Hawaii - excellent!  My brother-in-law and I are doing a gator hunt in 2012 but further of Arcadia.  Thanks for sharing!  I already forwarded it to my brother-in-law... Thanks!

 

groovy mike's picture

Epic is the right word to use for those college days road trips!

Ndemiter:

Epic is the right word to use for those college days road trips.  Yes indeed! Lol.  I have been there, and done that!  Unfortunately none of mine ended up with a hunt at the far end. That would be quite a memory indeed.  The photograph is great and a European style mount with that big skull and all those teeth would be quite a keepsake too.  And you got some gator to eat as a bonus.  You have just about talked me into driving south for a gator hunt! lol.  I would love to bag a big one.  I wouldn’t want one unless it was a big one.  I’ve had plenty of three footers within reach of the boat but never considered them a trophy.  Now a ten or twelve plus footer – THAT would be worth showing off.  I’ve had gator at restaurants and carnivals etc. and always enjoyed it so I can in good conscience call a gator hunt a “meat” hunt which is a good thing in my mind. 

I’ll have to look into whether alligator hunting falls conveniently in the cold weather months that would make a trip to the state of Florida an added bonus no matter the reason for the travel.  Hmmm…I wonder if I could combine it with an Osceola turkey hunt?  That would definitely be worth a trip.

Mike

hunter25's picture

Great story. I commented on

Great story. I commented on my gator huntin one of the threads and after reading your story my hunt was almost exactley like yours. We hunted down by Okeechobee the same way you did. The skulls make a great european mount to remember the hunt as I doubt we will ever go after them again but it is definately one to remember.

Not very many people have this one on their list of animals taken. Good job.

ManOfTheFall's picture

Congratulations on the gator.

Congratulations on the gator. I bet that was definitely different than hunting the fall here in Ohio. It sounds like you had a great, maybe a bit painful at times with the fire ants, but fun successful trip. I would love to take a gator out some day with the bow, that would be awesome. I really enjoyed the story. Thanks for sharing.