A group of six Alabama gator hunters took an absolute giant over the weekend while prowling the swamps of Mobile Bay, south of Interstate 10. Their big bull gator—the largest of the season so far according to an Alabama wildlife official—weighed in at 524 pounds and measured a full 12 feet, 9 inches in length.
“It took us roughly one hour from the time he was hooked until the time he was dispatched,” hunter Taylor Douglas told WKRG of Mobile in an email. “The biggest struggle was trying to get his body in the boat. Three Game Wardens were on a boat next to us and got to watch the entire fight.”
A picture shared by the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division on Facebook shows the six friends lined up behind the gator as it hangs from a large scale in a marina parking lot. The crew has been chasing gators together for years, according to Taylor, but the 524-pounder is the biggest alligator they’ve ever managed to boat. “It will be a hunt we all remember for years to come,” Taylor told WKRG.
Alabama is home to five distinct alligator management zones: the coastal zone, the southwest zone, the west central zone, the southeast zone, and the Lake Eufaula zone. All seasons begin in early August, with the longest, the Lake Eufaula management zone season, running into mid-October.
The largest alligator ever taken by a hunter was killed by Mandy Stokes of Thomaston, Alabama. Stokes took that gator while hunting with a crew of family members in a cypress swamp near her home back in 2014. It measured an amazing 15 feet, 9 inches and weighed well over 1,000 pounds. When she delivered the specimen to her taxidermist for mounting, he found a 3-year-old whitetail doe, a duck, three squirrels, and part of a cow in its stomach.