One would think that it would be hard to top catching a 723-pound gator and breaking a state record just days into hunting season, right? Wrong. That record lasted barely an hour when another hunting team bagged a 727-pound gator.
Gator hunting season is in full swing in Mississippi, and apparently there are plenty of behemoth gators to go around. After Beth Trammell of Madison broke the state record by catching an alligator that weighed in at 723.5 pounds and was nearly 13.5 feet long (26 pounds heavier than the previous record), she was only able to enjoy the victory for about an hour. While there is no doubt she can keep the title of Queen of the Swamp for her catch, her name won’t be next to “heaviest catch” as far as the state of Mississippi is concerned. That designation goes to Dustin Bockman, a UPS driver from Vicksburg.
Bockman, who had never previously gator hunted before, set a high bar for his personal gator fishing career on his first trip. The gator hunting gods were certainly smiling down on the novice hunter as he ventured down the Mississippi River with his brother and friend. Taking advantage of the night sky, which makes gators more visible as their eyes reflect light, the hunters spotted the massive gator.
After chasing the beast for two hours, Bockman shot the 727-pound, 13-foot, four-inch gator with a crossbow, a method that may seem a little unconventional to those familiar with gator fishing thanks to The History Channel’s Swamp People. Unfortunately for this gator hunter, the battle didn’t end there. After waiting a couple hours to finish off the gator with a gun, Bockman then had to wait for help to arrive to load up the gator. "We killed the alligator at 4 a.m. We waited until 6:30 (a.m.) before I called three or four more guys to help us load it into the boat," Bockman said.
While larger alligators certainly fetch higher prices, Bockman has no plans to sell his catch. In an interview with NBC, Bockman said he plays to use the hide and share the gator meat. “We’re going to cook it for sure. I got a bunch of people who want some, and there’s plenty for me and everybody else,” Bockman said.
Bockman’s record may not last too long since gator season is just getting underway, but he certainly has a quite a story to tell for his first time gator hunting.