A flurry of activity on Sunday saw the record for heaviest alligator taken on public waters in Mississippi broken twice, as hunters enjoy a great opening weekend of the 2013 season.
“This is just crazy, just crazy,” said Ricky Flynt, the biologist who heads the alligator program for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “My cell phone is burning up with hunters call me about these alligators. It is exciting, as usual.”
Crazy? Exciting? Try this for Flynt’s Sunday schedule.
First, the biologist drove to Vicksburg where he certified a new heavyweight title-holder at 723 ½ pounds, caught by a six-member crew between 1 and 4:30 a.m. on the Yazoo River diversion channel near the U.S. Highway 61 bridge in Yazoo County.
A photo of this beast can be seen at the bottom of this story.
Permit holder Mary Trammel of Madison got to enjoy her state record for about an hour.
Flynt quickly drove over to Mahannah Wildlife Management Area, where Dustin Bockman of Vicksburg was bringing a gator his team took overnight on the Mississippi River near the mouth of the Big Black River.
Bockman’s monster pushed the scales to 727 pounds, and — for now — is the new record.
A photo of Bockman's huge alligator is forthcoming, so be sure to check back.
Oddly enough, neither one broke the record for longest alligator, which remains 13 feet, 6½ inches.
Flynt wasn’t done.
“I had one more to check, that someone had called me about, but turns out it didn’t top 700 pounds,” he said.
Yeah, it weighed ONLY 673 pounds.
As impressive as those big bulls are, the alligator Flynt was most interested in is a new record for female gators taken Friday night on the Pascagoula River.
A team led by Brandon Maskew of Ellisville caught a 295.3-pound female that measured an even 10 feet, both new records. The previous records, held by different alligators, were 9 feet 9 inches and 283 pounds.
“At 10-feet, that alligator is just two inches short of the national record for longest female alligator ever taken anywhere by anyone,” Flynt said. “It was 10 feet, two inches and I captured it, tagged it and released it on the Pearl River at Barnett Reservoir.
“You think about it, now. Think about all the alligator that have been caught over the years in Louisiana, Florida and now here in Mississippi, and that’s the biggest. That 10-footer you know has to be 40 or 50 years old, at least. She’s at the upper end of the range for females.”
At noon Sunday, Flynt’s harvest data indicated that a total of 96 alligators had been reported killed by hunters.
Mississippi’s 10-day public lands season continues through noon on Sept. 9. The private land seasons continues through 6 a.m. Sept. 23.