Gearing up for alligator season

The upcoming alligator season is shaping up to be another good one this year as many of the alligator team captains and guides are reporting good numbers of alligators and several monster gators too. Joey King, from Ackerman, has been successful guiding and working as a team captain over the last several years and his gator hunting friends have been very successful.

“I think it will be a good season overall,” King said. “The water levels look like they will be good for hunting this year too.”

When it comes to hunting alligators, you need a strong team with a good boat. King hunts gators out of a Sea Ark Procat boat and it’s big enough to get the job done. Hunting gators requires a stable boat big enough to carry several gator hunters and stable enough to handle the gator battles too. The last thing you need is for a gator to capsize a boat or go crazy and flip people out of the boat.

Each gator hunting team requires at least one deckhand, a captain and tagholder. Many times several tag holders will be on the boat, and it may take several working together to make the hunt a success.

The Rez

Krystin Waller, of Brandon, is a gator hunter who has had success on King’s boat too. Waller knows a few things about hooking and catching a gator for sure. She’s battled quite a few of them and it’s extra hard to catch a gator and get him to the boat as you must be able to accurately gauge or measure their length before dispatching them or releasing them.

“We’re looking for another good year as a whole,” Waller said. “We saw some monster gators last year and one in particular that we just couldn’t catch. Word is that several teams have been watching some big gators around the state this year and we have got a few located too. They’ve been watching a few and keeping tabs on their location at the Rez (Ross Barnett) this year also.”

The challenge at the Rez this year will be to harvest the “runt” gator. Each tag holder can harvest one alligator over 7-feet in length and one between 4 and 7 feet.

“That’s the only tricky part,” Waller said. “Finding and estimating one over 4 feet but less than 7 can be hard. There are plenty of them in excess of 7-feet at Ross Barnett but you don’t want to mess up and harvest a runt that doesn’t meet the requirements.”

Monster gators

Waller recently had her first baby so she did not get a tag this year but will serve as a deckhand on some of the hunts and she’s one tough young lady, equally adept with a rod and reel or rifle.

“Fighting the big gators just gets my adrenaline going,” Waller said. “I love feeling the power of the gator and fighting them as they slash the water, thrash on the surface and complete death rolls. Hooking up and battling a monster gator is exhilarating but it does wear you down.”

If the season is anything like King and Waller expect, we should see another great harvest with monster gators coming in. And who knows, the next state record may be harvested this season. Alligator season runs from noon on Aug. 26 to noon on Sept. 5.

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About Michael O. Giles 377 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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