In a thrilling all-night battle, four hunters in Mississippi managed to capture the largest alligator ever officially caught in the state. Donald Woods, a seasoned alligator hunter, along with his friends Joey Clark, Will Thomas, and Tanner White, embarked on a daring expedition on the Yazoo River. Little did they know that they were about to encounter a monstrous creature that would break records and leave them in awe.
The Hunt Begins
On a calm night, the hunters set out on the Yazoo River, armed with their expertise and determination. The team had previously caught 12-foot alligators, but they were after something even more extraordinary. As they ventured deeper into the waters, their excitement grew as they encountered numerous alligators, albeit not the size they were searching for. They knew they had to remain patient and vigilant to spot their target.
Suddenly, the hunters laid eyes on an enormous alligator that stood out from the rest. Donald Woods described the moment as surreal, with the alligator’s wide back resembling a boat. They knew this was the one they had been waiting for. With adrenaline rushing through their veins, they approached the mighty creature, ready for the battle of a lifetime.
A Battle of Strength and Will
Woods took the first step, hooking the alligator around 9 p.m. Little did he know that this battle would test their endurance like never before. The alligator fought back fiercely, breaking Woods’ rod and managing to escape multiple times. It utilized its knowledge of the environment, going under logs and making it nearly impossible for the hunters to subdue it. The team persisted, hooking the alligator multiple times, but it seemed determined to resist capture.
“There was no moving him,” Woods admitted. “We couldn’t do anything with him. 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.”
Persistence Pays Off
As the night wore on, the hunters refused to give up. Their assortment of rods and reels became unusable, but their determination remained unshaken. Finally, as the early morning approached, the alligator started losing its strength. The hunters had managed to outlast the powerful creature, and it was time to bring it aboard their boat. With limited equipment left, they carefully hoisted the massive alligator, feeling a mix of exhaustion and amazement at their accomplishment.
A Record-Breaking Alligator
Once the alligator was safely on the boat, the hunters could finally take a moment to appreciate the enormity of their catch. They marveled at its wide back and the sheer size of its head. This was no ordinary alligator; it was a true giant of its kind. To validate their achievement, they sought the assistance of the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks Alligator Program coordinator, Andrew Arnett.
Arnett weighed and measured the alligator, confirming that it was indeed a record-breaker. The colossal creature measured 14 feet and 3 inches in length and weighed a staggering 802.5 pounds. It surpassed the previous record of a 14-foot, 3/4-inch alligator caught in 2017.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 28, 2023
A Social Media Sensation
News of the hunters’ remarkable feat spread quickly, capturing the attention of people across the country. One woman, in awe of the alligator’s size, commented on a Facebook post, comparing it to a T-Rex without legs. The image of the massive alligator circulated on social media, further amplifying the story and turning the hunters into local legends.
Reflections and Future Endeavors
Having achieved a feat that few can boast of, Donald Woods humorously mentioned that he might consider retiring from chasing big alligators after this remarkable hunt. The experience had been physically and mentally demanding, pushing their limits to capture the largest alligator ever caught in Mississippi. Their accomplishment will be remembered in the hunting community for years to come.