There are alligators and then there are alligators.
Hunters in Mississippi have broken a record for the longest alligator ever captured and killed in the state, taking out a gigantic creature that measured more than 14 feet long – or about 4.3 metres.
The alligator, captured over the weekend by four hunters during the state’s hunting season, is about the size of a small SUV.
“He measured 14 feet and 3 inches long, with belly girth of 66 inches and tail girth of 46.5 inches,” officials wrote on Facebook. “He weighed 802.5 lbs!”
The enormous, scaly creature was hauled out of the Yazoo River by Don Woods, Tanner White, Will Thomas and Joey Clark — all experienced hunters. (In other words, don’t try this at home.)
Despite being seasoned experts at hunting gators, Woods told the Mississippi Clarion-Ledger that their crew fought with the monster for at least seven hours straight before pulling it into their boat.
“He dictated everything we did. It was exhausting, but your adrenaline is going so you don’t notice it. It was more mentally exhausting than anything because he kept getting off,” Woods told the outlet, adding that their crew lost a lot of their reels and rods in the fight.
According to SuperTalk Mississippi Media, this record-breaking gator dethrones an alligator caught in 2017 that measured 14 feet and 0.5 inches long and weighed 766.5 pounds.
Mississippi has opened its rivers to alligator sport hunting every year from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4. The state first offered alligator sport hunting in 2005, and those with the appropriate permits are allowed to “harvest” two alligators over four feet long, although only one is allowed to be longer than seven feet.
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Alligator populations in Mississippi, CBS News reports, have become a point of contention in parts of the state, after some areas reported the animals were attacking pet dogs.
Woods told the Clarion-Ledger that he’s hanging up his gator-hunting hat for the year after the exhausting battle — possibly for good.
“We’re done with chasing big ones this year,” Woods said. “I might even call it a career after that, honestly.”
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