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Giant Gators, great friends and hogs!
So still stinging a bit from my recent African trip, I head down to South Florida with Clutch to hunt Gators. A mutual friend helped us set this hunt up and will be taking us hog hunting should we tag out early on Gators.
Vance meets us at a Restaurant near the Airport in Tampa, we have a bite to eat then head to the Bowshop for final prep of our gear. We are using glass arrows, 500# line, floats and a Steel Force fishing head. We sight in and meet Glen (Outfitter/Guide), he gives us the rundown on how we will locate, call and shoot the Gators if all goes well. We are hunting private land so the open season is all year, we also buy/print our licenses.
Tomorrow we hunt!!
I've been thinking about doing a hunt of this kind. I'll b following with interest!
We meet Glen on the road and head South at 5am, 5:15 we are on the side of the Interstate changing a flat on the Airboat trailer.
As the sun begins to rise we are in the area we will be hunting. I'm thinking huge swamps and lakes, but Glen has some Gators spotted at an old Phosphorus pit/mine. These pits are famous for HUGE Bass and HUGE Gators.
We park at the gate and sneak down towards the water, keeping the wind in our favor. Glen has explained that the Gators we're hunting average 50 years old, we hunt them like Whitetails.
The pit is a little over a mile long, we see several Gators, a couple in the 10-11 foot range but Glen wants us to get a real Monster so we hold out.
About an hour into glassing Vance spots a big one, I believe Gators (in the water) are harder to judge then bears. But we all agree we should at least get a better look at him and/or kill him.
Way cool! Had no idea gators could smell ya? Don't heavy any of em in KS...yet! I'm sure some lib has it on their "To reintroduce!" list. But that's another thread!-)
Keep it coming...with pics if possible!
We watch the Gator for about an hour, he's at the very end of the Pit but a herd of cows watering there and Bulrushes 30 feet deep prevent us from setting up there.
We crawl down to a point with good cover and set-up. The Gator is across the pit and to my left, 450-500 yards away.
We have a FoxPro with baby gator distress calls that Glen recorded at a gator farm. We place it past me hoping the Gator will swim broadside towards it giving me a possible kill shot.
Vance is on the hillside watching our backdoor as a sow could come in and surprise us. I'm first shooter up if that fails Clutch is backup and Glen is calling.
On goes the FoxPro, here comes the Gator, he's coming in like he's already on a line. I'm sitting low on my Butt, I begin to move slowly to my knees and nock my arrow. By the time I've done so the Gator has cut the distance in half, then he goes under. I get on string and check my line and float to be sure they will clear.
I hear Bert whisper, "He's right out front!" I'm facing East with the glare on the water it takes a moment for me to pick him up. Glen now has the FoxPro off and is voice calling. The Gator is 8 yards out facing me, no shot.
I lean back and draw my 80# Insanity, the Gator is still coming. At this point I have tunnel vision and my focus is solely on the Gator, at 4 yards I know he's huge at 3 yards I'm looking for a spot to hit him. He's know coming up the bank and his head turns slightly left (my right). I release the arrow and the water explodes! HIT!
He's pulling line and I release the float! I'm having flashbacks to the movie JAWS! He's 200 yards out in seconds!
Vance runs down to meet us, Clutch dives on me, Glen is smiling! Love it when a plan comes together.
Now we'll launch the airboat, pull the Gator in and finish him with an arrow to the base of the head.
That's exactly what we did!
You'd be amazed how strong a 12' Gator is and how heavy they are, but one red streak arrow tipped with a Muzzy MX3 finished him!
Just what I needed a hunt surrounded by great people and everything went as planned! Bert is up next, we've got 4 1/2 more days to "get it done!" At this pace we'll be done in a day!
Bigpizzaman, What an awesome trophy. Vance shared how exciting of a hunt with me when we spoke the other day. The fact that your trophy gator was called in and shot at such a close distance is totally awesome. What a trophy and story.
Best of luck with the rest of your year.
We load up the Gator, time to freshen up and eat some lunch before we head out to hunt for Clutches Gator. The rain come in, hard rain, puts a damper on the rest of the day. But day 2 turns into quit an adventure. Clutch is going to post his hunt on this thread soon.
I'm still smiling as post (relive) this hunt, can't Thanks our friend Vance enough for setting us up and putting us up! He's one of the best Whitetail hunters out there and makes Turkey hunting so easy a 5 year old can do it!
Clutch you're up!!!!!!!!!!!
Wow- Way Cool- Awesome- Congrats on a great trophy !!!!!!
Waiting on Clutch......
Congrats! I sure hope Mr. Clutch gets one too!
Great gator Tim! Congrats! Mike
Tim's hunt was text book perfect--his hunt went according to how we were hoping the gator was going to react to Glenn's call--unbelievably perfect-- Well, my hunt wasn't so text book--Glenn has access to many private properties to hunt gators--we drove to a 2500acre cattle ranch with many ponds and pits on it--the rancher told Glenn there was a large gator that was visiting a couple of small ponds where the cattle would drink out of--we parked a few hundred yards away and walked quietly to it--there was a few mounds of dirt around the pond--as we approached from behind the hills of dirt, we didn't see any gator in it--we move in closer to the pond and there he was with just half his head above the water--we backed up and got set up for the shot--we had already checked out the string and arrow when we got out the truck--all that i needed to do was knock the arrow--It's On !!!!!! I release and the arrow went side ways as the picture show-- I was shocked--the gator goes down-- I reel the arrow back and only the broad head comes back on the string, No arrow--WTH--all the extra tackle was in the air boat 45 minutes away--We decided to rig up one of my hunting arrows with the gator bh--I was shooting a 1450gr. arrow at the gator which I lost somehow on my first shot--we decided to fill my 385 gr.hunting arrow with sand to give it some weight to penetrate the thick hide of the gator--
This is the broad head we were using for the gator hunt
Glenn and Tim rigged up my hunting arrow that was filled with sand and tied the string to the arrow for my next shot--Glenn went back to get the boat and tackle--the gator knew he was in a bind because he couldn't swim away in this pond--he would have to get out the water and walk a couple of hundred yards to the swamp--the gator also knew that wasn't an option--so he went in survival mode--we weren't sure how long he could hold his breath but we soon found out--I stayed on the edge of the pond lock and loaded for when he would surface--thinking I would see most of his body for a shot--finally after 45 minutes I see just his nostrils above the the surface of the water--looked like 1" out the water--the pond water was chocolate and couldn't see much below the surface--this picture shows just his nose out the water--smart gator
I had no shot --the gator slowly went under and the wait was on gain--approx. 35 minutes passed and he broke the surface of the water again--he made no ripples in the water surfacing or going back down-- another wait--approx. 45 minutes passed and he comes back up, but more parallel with the water and I took the shot--got'em--the string goes out and then all is quiet--we gave him about 45 minutes before we started pulling on the string to make him surface for another shot--we couldn't move this gator that was laying on the bottom of this pond--finally after an hour we pulled him up and made a couple of more shots and recovered him
Reminds me of the way turtles would do us when we were kids...turtles nostrils are hard to hit, even with a 22 rifle.
Those Gator heads were so large that I'm holding Clutch's shoulders to help support. Massive beasts and much smarter then the younger/smaller ones I've taken before! Pulling the Gators up was like pulling a truck out of the ditch with dental floss!!
after we got the gator out the water, Glenn asked me to sever the spinal cord behind the head of the gator--just to make sure no one gets hurt--I did--then we proceeded to take pictures--Glenn opened the gators mouth so I could hold it up for a pic--there was some grass in its mouth--he took a 2" wooded rod to remove the grass because it was on his tongue--the second the 2" rod touched the tongue he snapped--unbelievable--there was a arrow in its head plus two more arrows in him plus a severed spinal cord--
This is the picture the instant after he snapped-- this pic shows the reaction of Glenn and I
2" wooden rod the gator snapped
very cool. what a blast that must have been. thanks for sharing.
It was loads of fun and I thank Glenn and Vance for a great gator hunt--PM myself or BPM if anyone is interested in a Florida gator hunt-------------Now off to hog hunting ---
Holey Moley what hunt CONGRADULATIONS
BPM & Clutch your adventure could only be titled as a "Gator Smackdown"- what an incredible day. Two awesome trophies- Congrats to both of you.
My long time friend and hunting buddy Vance had been after me to make a hog hunt on his property for some time--Looks like this was going to be a great combo hunt--Vance is an avid whitetail and turkey hunter with a collection of animals from all over the world--his trophy room is unbelievable--We had a 1 1/2 days to kill before we returned home-- Vance and i spot and stalked this nice red bore--
Great job! Thanks for sharing!
Well we set aside 5 days for the hunt and finished in two. Our friend Vance wanted us to stay at his place, said we could hunt hogs. We resighted in for hunting arrows, and off we go, we're not 10 min from Vance's house before we spot our first hog(s). A red sow and a black boar, somehow I win Rock, paper scissors. I move in to 50 yards, the hogs begin to feed towards me, (hunting Gods were really in my favor on this trip). The sow presents a quartered to shot, I take it, she's down in 45 yards!
Tim and I went with Vance and his family to celebrates his wifes birthday at a Spanish restaurant call Columbia Rest.--superior food-- had a great time
Bitter sweet end to a great hunt with Vance,Glenn and Tim--one of my best trips--hated to leave but missed the family--Thanks Guys
It was an Epic hunt!! Won't be our last together!! Thanks ALL!!
Although our rental car smelled like a GOAT!!!! LOL
looks like you had a great time!
those old abandoned mine properties hold some of the biggest critters i've seen in FL, from quail to deer, gators, otters, bobcat and coyote and turkey. I guess from light pressure and good habitat
you picked a good hunt, a good restaraunt and good friends
What are you doing with those dinosaurs
That was a cool thread! Thanks for the pics and story.
Bou, I am thinking I will make a nice rug with open mouth head mount-- if any one has pictures of their gator mount please post for me to look at-- Tks
This is Vance's gator mount in his game room with a whitetail in its mouth
That's one hell of a mount
You guys are my heros! I want to get on "team gator" next time!
Great hunt and recap!
I think the gator rugs are very cool.
Great hunt, gators, friends, mount, everything! THX for sharing.
That's my old stomping grounds(Sarasota county). Congrats on the hogs and gators!
Now that is a big Lizard. Thanks for posting. Congrats. HUNT
Great adventure! Congrats! Mike
sweet! I am thinking a gator trip may be on the menu soon
Thats awesome! Good times rt there
I am just trying to figure out where I can put one....! Did you guys get to take any of the meat home, or does the outfitter get to keep it, so he can sell it?
Jake, FIND A SPOT!! It's a blast! We brought home 55#'s on the plane. But have another 150-175#'s over there, Glen comes to Lafayette often as the premier Alligator tannery in the Nation is here. He will deliver our meat, hides and heads.
As a side note one of my Restaurants appeared on the History channel as having the Best Alligator dish in the Nation, so I do know how to cook it!!!
Congrats guys. Definitely put it on my list. I just have to convince the wife that we need one!
Very cool hunt. Great story and pics. I'm going to be twisting my buddy's arm to try to do something like this in a couple of years.
I'll try to catch the History Channel show too. What show and episode was it?
You guys did great! That hunt is a lot different than the public waters hunt we do each year. Kind of like hunting a large privately held and managed whitetail property in IL versus public land in PA. Trophy quality and effort are comprable too. It is REALLY tough to get a gator as great as you did on a DIY public waters hunt. They are a fun animal to hunt!
Congratulations on a unique trophy.
I'll put up a few pictures of how we made trophies of some of our gators.
This was a 9 1/2' gator.
The teeth make a cool necklace.
The claws even make for a unique necklace.
The number of things you can make with the leather is limitless.
The full body mounts do make an interesting addition to the trophy room. This was a 12' gator.
Sorry for poor picture quality.
Here's a half body mount.
The Euro head mounts are pretty sweet also.
Congrats Boys!! Sure looked like fun...How far south in Fla were you? and Clutch how big did yours tape out?
Just a head mount is fun also. You can hang it on the wall or it can be used for a interesting candy dish. :)
Great story and great trophies! Thanks for sharing it with us. This thread reminds me of the trip my new bride and I just completed driving through Cajun Country from South FL to Northern CO. In hindsight, I should have asked BPM about his restaurants so we could have stopped and sampled the fare. I will be sure to do that next time as St. Martin Parish is near the top of our list for a winter residence when we start snow-birding.
Wow, that was quite the adventure. Makes up (at least a little) for the African fiasco.
Looks like you'll be serving alligator pizza for some time.
Way to go guys.
Wow, now that looks like a blast!!! Congrats guys!
Thanks Guys again!
NY Bowman, very cool mounts!
Inbowdude, Alligator Pizza=Yummy!!!
scrapwood, stop by next time!!
"African fiasco.". Sounds like an exotic dish.
Great hunt guys! Nice job!
Wow. I'm gonna guess you might have found polk salad Annie's granny in one of those monsters....
Very cool hunt, very different than other gator hunts I've heard about that were basically like hunting a trap line. I've talked to a couple guys that had booked gator hunts and weren't very thrilled with them. This looks just the opposite.
Congrats! And thanks for takin' us along!
Tim , ya gonna get some russell's made out of him? Should fit even your feet.... =D
I have been getting several PMs concerning this hunt--for those who are interested, PM me your email address because when I PM back it shows there is an error--so I don't know if anyone is receiving my PM info-- Tks
What do those beasts weigh in at. 50 years old is incredible how long is their life span? Fascinating stories guys congrats!!!
Thanks for sharing.
That 'rug'gator' looks pretty cool but so do those full body mounts too!
Good luck, Robb
Good job, Guys. BPM, I will be there on Friday. Looks like fried gator for lunch!!!!! It happens to be one of my favorite things there...and Eggplant Louisiane, Bugs in a Bowl, Shrimp and grits, T-rex pizza, crawfish nachos. Damn, I am getting hungry.
Congrats guys! Very cool.
Gator meat is the "other white meat".
NYBowmen, that looks awesome--YumYum
Another fine adventure, thanks for sharing.
Yes thanks for sharing ! These adventures inspire me to get out and do more.
What a great trip. Makes me want to go!!
Awesome guys, congratulations on the good times and hunt!
Great pics and recap!!!!
Looks like you guys had a great time. Congrats. And now to some fine dining.
Amazing how if it comes together, you have an advantage with a bow over a rifle - you can reel them in.
Gator with whitetail is about the coolest mount I've ever seen. Cabelas, are you listening?
I've heard the hides are worth serious coin if you don't need another mount.
Here are a couple cool mounts Three gators around a cypress trunk with hog in one's mouth.
Gator around cypress knee chasing bass
The guy I use can do almost anything.He makes a real cool coffee table.I am trying to get a picture of.
Here is a picture of coffee table,not a good one.The cypress knees are the legs for the glass top.You can get up to 9' gator done this way withoout losing to much room.Still shows the gator off.
Wow those are dinosaurs! Those are knee knockers. Great hunt story.
Wow guys!!! Those are some bonafide giants!!! Looks and sounds like it was a ton of fun!!! Congrats!
Those mounts are Awesome!! Might have to go down and shoot a couple 9-10 footers!!
That is some super taxi work. Very creative.
Yeah the guy takes pride in his work and really cares about the client.I believe he can do anything with these lizards.