*Rapid baby gator grunts echoed across the water from the cd player hidden in the weeds to my right and I was nestled beside an overturned jon boat on the bank. Within moments, the weed line extending out into the lake to my left came alive, lily pads parted and a fast approaching wake announced the arrival of our first nuisance gator of the day. The small cd player placed on the shoreline emitting baby gator calls prompted an immediate response from the 6’ 6” gator. The gator was large enough to overpower a pet or a small child and this gator had zero fear of humans which unfortunately made him fall into the “nuisance” category.
The Muzzy Gator Getter arrow combined with the Gator Getter point and 600 lb. Gator Cord insured a secure line on the gator. The gator was pulled in and quickly dispatched with a .44 magnum bang stick. It is important to mention, nuisance gators over 4 feet long are only relocated to the processor. The whole thing happened within minutes. We were escorted to the lake’s edge by the concerned caller and given specific examples of her concerns. Due to continuous feeding by neighbors, this six and a half foot gator had lost it’s natural fear of humans and now unfortunately associated humans with feeding. This lack of fear caused the gator to appear within feet of the shoreline anytime a human would venture close to the edge. Keep in mind that a gator does not discriminate between adults, children, or pets. Illegal feeding of wild alligators is often the cause of attacks. Even if there has been no aggression by the gator, it is just a matter of time before opportunity and hunger meet.
Our morning mission was only interrupted by our own hunger and a stop at Sonny’s was in order. With a full belly and our sweet tea cups topped off, we went down the road to our next nuisance complaint call. This time it was truly a large dangerous gator who had made his appearance next to a private swimming area. Numerous attempts to lure the gator close were unsuccessful so a bait was set and left overnight. That night, the 11’ 3” bull gator was drawn to the scent of beef lung drifting across the lake like a fat guy to Sonny’s. Numerous witnesses recalled watching this gator approach children in the “swim area” during the memorial day holiday, it was a tragedy waiting to happen.
Our day started early and ended late covering three central Florida counties. We were only able to respond to a dozen of the nuisance calls due to the time and distance between locations. Harvest methods vary from calling, snagging, to setting baits and returning the next day to check. The individual gator’s personality, demeanor, and sometimes solitude dictate which method will be most successful. Younger gators may tend to rush in to the calls, while a wary old bull gator may only be active under cover of darkness. As a general rule, gators are most active at dusk, dawn, and throughout the night.
Last summer, there were 3 fatal gator attacks in Florida and there have been 17 confirmed fatalities in the last 58 years. These terrifying numbers are sure to increase with Florida’s human population growing and continuing to encroach on the alligator’s natural habitat. By not feeding wild gators, you can help keep these statistics lower.
Let’s compare the raw power in the jaws of an alligator to some other creatures. Those who enjoy watching Animal Planet and Cat Diaries are aware of the awesome power that lions and hyenas have. These two meat eating carnivores have 940 and 1,000 lbs of bone crushing force in their jaws.
A domesticated German Shepard, Rottweiler or Pit Bull's jaw strength ranges from 235 to 328 lbs. of biting force. A large bull gator’s documented biting force chomps down with an amazing 2,960 lbs of force, Ouch! Our human bite only measures 170 lbs.
Hunts are conveniently located throughout Polk and Osceola Counties. Gator hunting is not only challenging, but can be quick paced and top shelf for the adrenalin junkie. From back yard retention ponds, to neighborhood lakes, you never know where the action will take you.
You can experience this unparalleled experience of a lifetime by contacting Lakeside Adventures at (813) 478-9120 or call Mike Williams at (863) 412-9289. Nuisance Gators by James Stovall
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