See the massive alligator found lurking in a South Florida swamp
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the largest alligator ever caught in a hunt was 14 feet 3.5 inches. The male was captured in Central Florida in 2010.
GLADES COUNTY, Fla. – A hunting trip deep in the swamps of South Florida netted an Indiana man a catch that he will never soon forget – a battle with an over 12-foot alligator that posed a challenge to even a group of the most experienced hunters.
Eric Hinderliter was on private hunting lands around the town of LaBelle, Florida, in early February when he said members of the Hitmen TV crew came across signs that a bigger-than-average gator was lurking in the waterways.
"So, we got together at night talking about a plan, and the next morning we were going to go out and come in on it from different directions," said Hinderliter.
During the morning excursion, the group was able to find the massive reptile, but that was only part of the battle - successfully hooking and capturing it proved challenging.
"So, I get down in the water with the harpoon, and the rush is going. They said, ‘just as long as the head isn’t facing you, get him in the side,’" Hinderliter stated.
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FLORIDA MAN DESCRIBES PRYING HIS HEAD OUT OF A 12-FOOT ALLIGATOR’S MOUTH AS ‘NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE’
Once secured, Hinderliter said he made sure the alligator was incapacitated before getting it back to dry land.
When back onshore, the group measured the reptile and posed for photos with the giant catch, which was easily double the size of the hunters.
The alligator measured to be a whopping 12.1 feet long and weighed at least 600 pounds, which was the largest reptile ever seen by the group. According to experts, female alligators usually don't grow beyond 10 feet in length, but males can be much bigger.
The capture was not too far off from being one of the largest alligators ever captured in Florida. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the biggest alligator caught during a hunt was just over 14 feet long.
ALLIGATOR HUNTING SEASON KICKS OFF IN FLORIDA WITH EXPANDED HOURS, WEAPONS
Back in New Harmony, Indiana, the reaction from the 37-year-old man’s family was anything but mixed.
Hinderliter’s wife was said to be excited about the catch, and his four-year-old son Ty even made a Valentine’s Day card drop box in the shape of an alligator.
As for what is left of the over 12-foot animal, the Indiana resident said he is waiting for processing to be complete and will hopefully soon receive the meat.
The remnants of the carcass will be worked on by a taxidermist, and Hinderliter said he anticipates receiving animal mount in about three years.
The takedown of the alligator was captured on video, and Hinderliter expects an episode of the hunt to be released on the Pursuit Channel next season.
The FWC estimates there are about 1.3 million alligators in the state, and they are found in all 67 counties.