Gator hunting season is an opportunity for adventurous and out-of-the-box experiences, and the latest round of reptiles taken has produced some noteworthy news items.
It may be a unique hunting niche, but this year’s gator hunting season has arguably seen more national press coverage than any other type of game has gotten all year. Most of the attention has been paid (rightfully) to Mississippi, where the state record for biggest alligator harvest was broken a jaw-dropping three times in the first week of the gator hunting season.
It appears there really is something in the water in Mississippi.
By September 3, 2013 – the season kicked off on September 1 – two different parties had submitted harvest reports of alligators that handily outstripped Mississippi’s previous state size record of 697.5 pounds.
The first, a 13 foot, 5.5 inch long, 723.5 pound behemoth, was hauled out of the waters of the Mississippi River in the middle of the night on September 1.
The second, a shorter but fatter gator (this one was 13 feet and 4.5 inches in length, but weighed 727 pounds) was caught literally an hour later in the same waters.
Both records surpassed the existing state weight benchmark, but fell short of the Mississippi record for longest gator, which stood at 13 feet, 6.5 inches. That exact figure was hit a week after the first two records, as another group of hunters brought a record breaking gator out of the Mississippi River waters once more on the morning of September 8.
In addition to tying the state length record, this third gator broke both of the records that had been reported a week earlier, weighing in at 741.5 pounds.
How’s that for a flurry of news to kick off gator hunting season and to leave Mississippi hunters wishing they had a gator license?
The question, of course, is why Mississippi’s gators have suddenly gotten bigger (or at the least, why hunters have suddenly been able to capture more substantial beasts). It could all be coincidence: all three record-claiming hunting parties had several people to help reel the gators in, aim accurate shotgun hits, and help load the harvest into the boat.
All three parties also contended with bent or broken fishing poles, suggesting that the gators in question could easily have gotten away if things had gone a bit differently.
Then again, something could be going on that is making gators grow larger. We’re not about to suggest a nuclear waste leak, or some sort of X-Men-style mutation scenario, but we are certainly intrigued as to how Mississippi gator hunters were able to hit the jackpot three times in a single week. After all, Mississippi’s previous record gator was caught all the way back in 2008.
Adding to the gator conspiracy theory is the fact that Mississippi isn’t the only state breaking gator records this fall. In the final week of September, a hunter in Arkansas smashed his own state’s record, bagging an alligator that measured 14 feet in length and weighed a whopping 1,100 pounds.
And while that size still pales in comparison to the nationwide gator record – a 19.2 foot, 2,000 pound monster killed in Louisiana over a century ago – it’s one that will undoubtedly go down in history regardless.