This massive gator came in just shy of 14 feet!
Not everyone can say they've seen a real-life dinosaur. Travis Bearden and his friends can safely say that after the alligator hunt of a lifetime in Arkansas. The animal that Bearden ended up harvesting was a 13-foot, 11.5-inch gator weighing a whopping 800 pounds, potentially becoming the largest gator ever harvested in the Natural State.
THV 11 News reports the hunt took place September 26 on Lake Merrisach in Desha County. Bearden was hunting with dad and brother Gary and Cody Bearden and Tommy Kelly when they harpooned the big reptile.
What happened next was a lengthy battle to get the beast up to the boat for a shot at its head.
"We weren't real sure how big he was when we spotted him, and to our surprise, after we harpooned it, it ended up being a giant," Travis Bearden told THV 11 News. "It drug our boat around for almost two hours before I was able to get a clean shot on it."
The New State Record for Arkansas! Measuring in at 13’ 11.5” and weighing 800lbs. I’ve got to give a shoutout to...
Bearden's hunt for this animal came down to the wire. His permit was set to expire this weekend and the hunters had little to show for it up to this point. The group had spent 20 hours the previous weekend trying to find a gator and were unsuccessful. It seems the saying is true, good things come to those who wait.
"Having my dad and my brother there made it that much more special," Bearden told the station. "I just sat back and listened to my dad tell stranger after stranger the story. I think he might be more excited than I am!"
Arkansas is something of a lesser-known state for alligator hunting. There are no official state records, but Arkansas Game and Fish does keep data on animals harvested since the season began. The Bearden beast is the longest ever recorded according to Game and Fish's Trey Reid.
Photos and video of the harvest immediately spread across the Internet like wildlife, and for good reason, that is big alligator!