Many of us, myself included, like to tune in on TV to watch Swamp People. If you are not familiar with the show it is about some daring folks in Louisiana who hunt alligators. Unbeknownst to many folks around here though is that gator hunting is allowed right here in Florida and Jackson County. Local gator hunters have to go through a process to buy gator tags, and if they are successful in getting gator tags they are off to the local lakes, ponds, swamps and rivers to do their gator thing.
One local pair of gator hunters were recently successful in bagging a monster gator in East Jackson County. Bryan Johnson from Greenwood, with his good friend Davey Young from Quincy, hauled in an 11'10" gator in the early morning hours last Sunday morning. The pair headed out on Saturday evening in a 14 foot Jon boat, armed with two harpoons and a 12 gauge bang stick. The gator was spotted and initially snagged with a 20 foot harpoon with a line attached to it. They then got a second line on the gator with a 10 foot harpoon. For an hour they battled the gator from their Jon boat. After an hour the gator got close enough that they could kill it with a strike to the head with the 12 gauge bang stick.
Then came the hard part, figuring out how two men could get the 525 pound gator into their Jon boat. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, Johnson and Young were exhausted. They paused to catch their second wind and Johnson expressed his doubts about getting the gator in the boat. Young replied that if two women (Liz and her daughter on Swamp People) can get a gator in the boat that they should be able to do the same. That was the final burst of motivation they needed and they managed to finally get the gator's head in the boat and roll the rest of him in. The ride back to the landing was precarious, as the gator was on one side of the boat the two men were on the other side trying to balance the weight.
Once back at the landing they were able to roll the gator from the boat to the back of their truck. They hauled the gator to Port St. Joe to a buyer, who processes the hide and meat. Both men are avid outdoorsman and hunters, but both said however that nothing they had ever done before compared to bagging a nearly 12 foot gator.