Can we just take a second to recognize how wild it is that there are alligators in Arkansas? I haven’t spent much time in the actual state of Arkansas but I’ve driven through the southern part of the state tons of times on my way from Florida to St. Louis and never has it crossed my mind that there are gators in that state. So I’m taking a moment to process this information.
It’s alligator hunting (fishing?) season throughout parts of the Southeast. My Instagram has been alive with ‘gator hunting pics over the past few weeks though those pictures have slowed down recently so I’m guessing the window for harvesting an alligator has closed around here or people went all out in the beginning and used up their alligator tags. Regardless, these hunters in Arkansas just caught a new state record that measured nearly 14 feet long.
What they caught was an 800-pound alligator that measured a whopping 13 feet and 11.5 inches. That’s a MASSIVE alligator by any standards, whether we’re talking about Louisiana or Florida. Interestingly, experts have no idea if there are more alligators in Florida or Louisiana and they just sort of chalk it up to a tie.
Here’s a look at this massive alligator:
That dinosaur virtually dwarfed the size of their boat. They must’ve been more than a little bit nervous when they realized just how big that alligator was. It was captured on September 26th on Lake Merrisach in Desha County and took the gator down using a harpoon.
“We weren’t real sure how big he was when we spotted him, and to our surprise, after we harpooned it, it ended up being a giant,” Travis Bearden told THV 11 News. “It drug our boat around for almost two hours before I was able to get a clean shot on it.”
Bearden’s hunt for this animal came down to the wire. His permit was set to expire this weekend and the hunters had little to show for it up to this point. The group had spent 20 hours the previous weekend trying to find a gator and were unsuccessful. It seems the saying is true, good things come to those who wait.
“Having my dad and my brother there made it that much more special,” Bearden told the station. “I just sat back and listened to my dad tell stranger after stranger the story. I think he might be more excited than I am!” (via Wideopen Spaces)
I was just looking at a map of where alligators are found throughout the United States and it’s a really small sliver of Southwest Arkansas that actually creeps over into Oklahoma too. Beyond that little sliver, they’re found pretty much where you’d expect from Eastern Texas across all of Florida and up into North Carolina almost all the way to Virginia.