When I did my Meet The Bloggers post which you can read here I said I kissed gators. There were comments on that blog post stating readers wanted to hear about my adventure. If you can believe this my Sand Spring gang didn’t get into any mischief this last week so I don’t have anything to write about them so I’m going to tell you about my gator mischief.
It all started when my friend Erika who is a Veterinary sales rep came into the clinic to talk products with me. As we were talking about veterinary products she slips in “I won a 4 person all paid trip to Disney World through the company I work for, do you want to go with me and blow off Disney World and go gator hunting”? My mouth dropped and it took me all of a second to say YES, YES, YES!
Over Labor Day 2010 we (Erika, Erika’s sister Jokey, Erika’s friend Tim and I) were off to Florida to meet up with David from Camp David’s Hunt Club for our guided Alligator hunt. We flew into Orlando got a rental car, drove to our resort checked in and off we went to buy our hunting license and snacks for the hunt.
You have the most success hunting alligators in the dark so we waited til sun down and met up with David around 8pm. We jumped in his rig and off we went to the St. John’s River system for some gator mischief.
We hunted our gators out of a air boat. We all needed to wear ear protection as the motor/fan was really loud. We also wore head gear so we could talk to each other as well as lights so we could see. The person hunting sat in the front the others were behind. Into the swamp/river we went. It was so fascinating being out in the dark in the swamp riding on a air boat seeing so many gators ranging from babies to adults all around you.
We all got over a hour to hunt our gator. David would drive the air boat taking the curves of the river really fast, it was breath taking, if he went past a gator that he thought we should check out he quickly whipped the air boat around. That was one of my favorite parts of the trip. We would be sitting in our chairs which are all open and no seat belts so you needed to hang on. Don’t want to be getting tossed into the mouth of a hungry gator. The fast pace was enough to keep you awake in the middle of the night and the anticipation of seeing a big gator. David made sure we all got enough time to hunt and made sure we got them with all the devices we could hunt them with. In the above picture I am holding a crossbow. That is what we started out using. We would shoot the gator with the crossbow that had a buoy with string attached so we could keep track of the gator. Once we shot it with the cross bow then David would grab the string and pull the gator in so we could use a harpoon and get the gator that way.
You should know it took me about 5 shots with the crossbow before I got a line into the gator. Then the harpoon I would whip it as far and hard as I could I dang near fell in, Tim had to grab my pants and pull me back onto the boat.
Once we would harpoon the gator it was time to finish him off using a bang stick. It is a long metal tube with a .45 cal bullet in the end so when you press it on the gators head it goes off. You only have a quarter size spot to hit on the head to make a fatal shot. You want to press down on the stick shoving the gator under the water so when the gun goes off it is underwater so you don’t have to hear the loud bang. The splash up of water is why I am so wet.
We hunted til about 1:00 am then we went to a lagoon and hung out for a while, walking around checking out the cypress trees and stretching our legs. We took this time to take some photos of the gators. We had some snacks and we were ready to go again. We toured so much of the St. John River it was so neat to see in the dark.
We drove around all night hunting and checking out the sites so by the time we headed back to the truck the sun was coming up and we could see the swamp/river in the daylight which looks totally different than in the dark.
Isn’t the sunrise magnificent? It was a really stunning view (when I wasn’t trying to take a cat nap).
My gator was the smallest one at 6 ft. Erika and the guide David’s gators were 8 ft and Tim got the monster at 12 ft. We did manage to make it to Epicot and to Downtown Disney. We all had a fabulous time it was a trip of a lifetime that I would repeat.
Here is a video with more pictures of our hunt.
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