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Alabama family catches record 1,011-pound alligator

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Catching the alligator that broke the record in Alabama took the whole family: Mandy and John Stokes, their brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins, and his two teen-age kids, Savannah and Parker Jenkins. The alligator-hunting family from Thomaston hooked this 15-foot, 1,011-pound behemoth during Alabama's alligator hunting season. It goes down as the largest alligator ever killed legally by an Alabama alligator hunter, according to a Monday report on MSN.com.

The authorities at the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries didn't have much trouble measuring the big gator, but weighing it proved to be a bit of a challenge. The normal wench assembly that is used for hoisting alligators broke. (They use these wenches on the History Channel program, "Swamp People," when they take the alligators to the buyer.) In Alabama, they had to use a backhoe to lift this massive creature.

This alligator is not the longest or heaviest one recorded in the United States, however, according to Buzzle.com. Marsh Island, Louisiana was the site of the 19.2 foot alligator that actually holds the official record for the longest alligator in the world. Dating back to 1890, it was killed in Vermillion Bay. The weight is not as well-documented, but it was thought to have weighed around 2,000 pounds.

Alligators have so few natural predators that they often live to be very old. It is likely that there are alligators that surpass the 19.2 foot record, and it is possible that they will be found one day in Louisiana. In the recent past, state-sponsored alligator hunting has controlled alligator populations across the United States. Hunters are usually issued a set amount of tags that they can fill through hunting particular areas that they are assigned.

The rules for how the alligators are hunted vary from state to state. For instance, in Texas, fishermen can only kill an alligator after it is caught with a line or other “alligator taking” device. In Louisiana, a hunter can attempt to pick off an alligator on the open water with a treble hook or a firearm.

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