A Mississippi hunting party just made history!
Over the weekend, the group — identified as Tanner White, Don Woods, Will Thomas and Joey Clark — captured a 14-foot-long reptile, breaking the state’s record for longest alligator, according to a post shared by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.
“Congratulations to these Mississippi hunters!” the MDWFP wrote on Facebook.
The hunters came across the male reptile in the state’s West Central Hunting Zone on Saturday, the day after Mississippi’s alligator hunting season opened, per the department.
When the record-breaking reptile was captured, he measured up at 14 feet and 3 inches, “with a belly girth of 66 inches and tail girth of 46.5 inches,” the department wrote. He weighed 802.5 lbs.
Commenters flocked to the MDWFP’s announcement to congratulate the hunting party on their historic catch.
“OMG…what a monster!” one user wrote. “You grow ’em big in Mississippi! Congratulations on your big catch!”
Another commented, “Congratulations that’s a real dinosaur!!! Had to be an amazing time for sure!!!”
The title for longest male alligator taken by a permitted hunter in Mississippi was previously held by an alligator captured on Aug. 28, 2017.
The usurped alligator, which was a little over 2 inches shorter than the new title holder, was captured in the state’s Southwest Hunting Zone.
“The alligator’s length was 14 feet ¾ inch, which broke the previous record by ½ inch,” the department announced in a 2017 news release. “The alligator weighed 766.5 lbs. The belly girth was 69 inches, and the tail girth was 43 inches.”
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Mississippi’s first public alligator sport hunting season occurred in 2005, according to the MDWFP.
“While alligators typically avoid humans and human activity, occasionally they do cause conflicts with humans,” the department said in its alligator program explainer.
“Juvenile alligators often disperse into new territories in the late spring and early summer months,” the agency added. “During this dispersal, they occasionally find themselves in unusual locations near human development, such as; farm ponds, road ditches, highways, parking lots, yards, swimming pools, neighborhood water landscape pools, and even buildings.”
“It is illegal and very dangerous for the public to capture and remove or kill an alligator without a special permit from the MDWFP,” the department noted.
“As human developments (residential and commercial) continue to encroach into more rural areas of the state, increased interaction and conflicts with wildlife are subject to occur,” the MDWFP said.