Another day of the alligator season, another record broken.
On Sunday, biologist Ricky Flynt certified a 319-pound female gator caught by Craig Jones of Mendenhall at Eagle Lake. It is by nearly 24 pounds the heaviest female gator taken in 11 years of alligator hunting in Mississippi.
At 9 feet, 11 inches, Jones’ alligator was just one inch short of the state length record of 10 feet for a female, and just three inches shy of the longest female ever recorded in the wild.
Flynt, the alligator program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, had already certified the longest male (13-7¾) and heaviest male (822 pounds) on Saturday, and then, overnight Saturday into the wee hours of Sunday, he certified a gator that beat both of those records at 14 feet, ¾ inches and 826 pounds.
Jones’ gator, caught at Eagle Lake in the early hours of Sunday morning, is just as impressive, the biologist said.
“Though it is not as massive and impressive as the large male gators, this is a very significant specimen,” Flynt said. “The largest female alligators ever officially recorded are 10 feet, 2 inches long, one measured in Florida in 1984 and one in Mississippi in 2009.
“Both alligators were recorded by the respective state’s wildlife agencies during research activities. Female alligator growth rates are drastically reduced after reaching 6-7 feet long. There are records of known age female alligators in captivity over 35 years of age that are only 8 feet 6 inches long.”
The big female gator had impressive girth measurements, including 47 inches around the belly and 37 inches around the tail.
Mississippi’s 2015 public waters season continues through noon on Labor Day, and the private lands season continues through 6 a.m. on Sept. 21. Both are open only to hunters possessing permits.