Four days into Mississippi's alligator-hunting season, the state's record for heaviest reptile caught has been broken twice — most recently with a 792-pounder. The creature, which measured 13 feet and 5 inches, was reeled in Sunday evening. "He was a giant!" said Brian Montgomery, one member of the three-person team that made the catch.
Montgomery,38, who was on his first hunt, said the alligator thrashed around and even bit a hole in the front of their 16-foot aluminum boat before they got a snare around him, shot him in the base of the neck and towed him to shore.
Ricky Flynt, alligator program coordinator for Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, said a 10-day hunting season began Friday and 920 permits were issued to hunters, who went through special training. Flynt said the state's program — which began in 2005 and has been decried by animal rights activists — has a two-fold purpose: controlling the alligator population and providing recreational hunting opportunities.
The state record was broken four times last season and then shattered Saturday morning when a team brought in an alligator that weighed 756 pounds. One member of that team, Scott Berry, then joined up with Montgomery and Jesse Phillips on Monday. It took the trio nearly an hour to capture the new record-setter, but Flynt doesn't think they'll hold the state title too long.
"I will not be surprised if they get one that exceeds 1,000 pounds and is 14 feet or longer," he said. It's already happened in Alabama, where a family killed a gator that tipped the scales at 1,011.5 pounds.