A record breaking alligator was caught above the Millers Ferry Dam on the Alabama River according to reports from the al.com website on Aug. 18, 2014. The alligator weighed 1,011 pounds and was 15 feet long. The animal is a contender for the state record and may be a world record.
Millers Ferry is about 100 miles from the coast of Alabama. Most people consider alligators to be coastal animals but this giant specimen had made its way through the Alabama River to a spot just north of Camden, Alabama. The alligator population in Alabama was almost extinct from pollution and over-fishing 40 years ago. Conservation, pollution control laws, and a limited hunting season brought the alligator population back to record numbers.
Mandy Stokes, husband John Stokes, brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins, and his children Savannah and Parker caught the monster gator after a four hour struggle. This was Mandy Stokes first alligator hunt. After almost losing the wily alligator, Mandy Stokes shot the animal in the head with a 20-gauge shotgun in the early morning of Aug. 16, 2014. Photos of the alligator and family can be seen here.
Stokes and family plan to have the alligator mounted as a contender for the largest alligator caught in the United States that can be verified by wildlife officials and biologists. Stokes applied for one of the limited permits for alligator hunting and was lucky enough to be one of the few that were allowed to hunt alligators in the 2014 season. The boat the intrepid gator hunters caught the monster gator in was 17 feet long. The group got a tow back to the dock after they landed the giant alligator.
This story has gone viral in the world’s media. People are reporting this from everywhere in the United States, in Britain, in India, and in Australia. The driving force of the story and people’s interest is the size of the alligator and the fact that this was a woman’s first alligator hunt. While some people are disgruntled about killing such a large animal, one has to consider that hunting is a means of conservation that provides limits on population and allows competition.