GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) — Soon after alligator season opened at noon on Friday with favorable conditions, two Mississippi hunters caught a giant that could break a state record.
Derrick Saucier of Pascagoula and Jarrod Davis of Hurley were making passes of Mary Walker Bayou in Gautier when they spotted the large gator, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Saucier said the alligator was known in the area.
"He was a nuisance. He'd eaten a few pets," Saucier said. "One of the trappers hooked him a month ago. I could still see the scar on him where the hook came out. People had been chasing him for years."
Saucier said they spotted the alligator at about 11:57 a.m. and that he felt like a kid on Christmas Eve as the minutes ticked down to the opening of the season.
A few minutes later the pair had hooked the 13-foot, 6-inch alligator and then spent 90 minutes battling it. Davis said that during the battle the alligator "dragged us across the bayou back and forth and almost jerked me out of the boat three times."
The hunters struggled to get the animal into their boat and had to tow it to the shallow water of a nearby boat launch.
"We tried to get him in the boat with four men and couldn't do it," Davis said. "Finally we gave up and decided to pull him on the bank. It took six men."
The alligator's measurements indicate that it could near the state record for heaviest male alligator taken in public waters.
The current record stands at 822 pounds for an alligator that was just over 13-feet long with a 65-inch girth and 48-inch tail base.
Saucier and Davis' catch measure 13-feet, 6-inches long with a 72-inch girth and a 48-inch tail base, the newspaper reported.