‘It was surreal’: Mississippi alligator hunters break state record

JACKSON, Miss. — Four alligator hunters in Mississippi bagged a monster on Saturday.

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According to a news release from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the four men harvested the longest alligator in state history.

The 14-foot, 3-inch reptile weighed 802.5 pounds, according to the agency. It was caught by Tanner White, of Flora; Don Woods, of Oxford; Will Thomas, of Madison; and Joey Clark, of Jackson.

Saturday’s catch topped the previous record set in 2017 of 14 feet, 3/4 inches.

The four men were hunting on the Yazoo River, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

“We got on the water right at dark,” Woods told the newspaper. “We were seeing a lot of alligators.

“It was a calm night. We saw a lot of 8-footers, 10-footers, but that’s not what we were after.”

The men found what they were looking for shortly after 9 p.m. CDT on Friday. This alligator was big.

“We knew he was wide,” Woods told the Clarion Ledger. “His back was humongous. It was like we were following a jon boat.”

The hunters battled the male alligator for seven hours.

“We hooked him eight or nine times and he kept breaking off,” Woods told the newspaper. “He would go down, sit and then take off. He kept going under logs. He knew what he was doing. The crazy thing is he stayed in that same spot.”

At about 3:30 a.m., the hunters were able to get the tired alligator onto their boat.

“We just knew we had a big alligator,” Woods told the Clarion Ledger. “We were just amazed at how wide his back was and how big the head was. It was surreal, to tell you the truth.

“We’re done with chasing big ones this year. I might even call it a career after that, honestly.”

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