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Hunters Capture and Kill Largest Alligator in Mississippi History

That's a big boy.

By Cassidy Ward

In the creature feature Black Water: Abyss (streaming now on Peacock), five adventurers exploring an underground cave system in Australia are trapped by a sudden storm flooding their exit. The situation is dire: With the water rising, they need a new way out, and the cave is inhabited by a massive crocodile with a taste for human flesh.

On the other side of the world and here in reality, four hunters have captured their own record-breaking behemoth during this year’s Mississippi alligator hunt. Not only is the alligator in question the largest ever captured in Mississippi, it’s also the largest alligator ever recorded in the state, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The Largest Alligator in Mississippi

Alligators are found in waterways all over the state and tend to spread out in the spring and summer when juveniles start looking for territory of their own. Alligator hunting officially began in Mississippi in 2005 and was limited to just two major waterways. Since then, the hunting area and the number of tags has expanded.

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Today, there is a 10-day season every year with just under 1,000 permits available. Each permit grants a hunter the authority to kill two alligators during the hunting period. Hunted alligators must be over four feet in length and only one of them can be over seven feet. The idea is to spread the impact of hunting across the population by targeting both juveniles and adults.

Because of the potential dangers involved, Mississippi offers an alligator hunting training course, which consists of 11 online videos covering everything from hunting regulations, biology, the history of alligators in the state, capture methods, and more.

This year, four hunters from across the state –– Tanner White, Don Woods, Will Thomas, and Joey Clark –– took to the water together in search of a gator for the record books. They found one in the Sunflower River roughly 55 miles northwest of Jackson, according to the Associated Press.

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The four of them spent seven hours wresting the animal out of the water and into their boat, where the alligator was killed, according to the Clarion Ledger. They knew right away they had something big, but it wasn’t until it was measured that they knew they had a record breaker. The alligator measured 14 feet, 3 inches and weighed more than 800 pounds, beating out the previous record by more than two inches. It was so big, in fact, that the four hunters had to hoist the animal with a forklift in order to take a photo.

It was later revealed the alligator had been captured at least once before, as evidenced by a metal tag on the right rear foot. The tag came from an encounter 16 years earlier when researchers from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks were called to address a nuisance alligator hanging out in a private pond behind a house. At the time, the gator measured 10 feet, 11 inches. After tagging, the animal was relocated. It was found and killed roughly 22 miles from where it was released a decade and a half prior.

See the endless fight between man and reptile in Black Water: Abyss streaming now on Peacock.

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