YAZOO CITY, Miss. – An alligator caught in a river in west-central Mississippi is believed to have broken the state’s record, coming in at a whopping 802 pounds and measuring more than 14 feet long.
Hunter Tanner White, Don Woods, Will Thomas and Joey Clark said they spent seven hours during the first days of the hunting season trying to find the reptile in an area near the Yazoo River.
"We saw him early in the evening," Thomas stated. "We didn’t know about him previously. We knew we were in a good spot. And so, we kind of scouted before it got dark. And one of the team members, Joey Clark, was the first to spot this alligator, and we knew he was at least 12 feet. But it was not until much later the next morning that we realized that he could be potentially a state record."
After the hunters killed the reptile, they took the beast to a wild game processing facility where he was measured, and the group posed for photos.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks confirmed that the capture measured in at 14 feet, 3 inches, beating the old record by 2 inches.
The hunter estimated that the alligator was at least 40 years old, and after it was processed, local food shelters received hundreds of pounds of meat.
As for why Thomas and his friends enjoy the excursion of hunting in the rural swamp lands at night, he stated: "It’s just kind of the culture down here to get out and do this kind of thing. And we’re certainly not the only ones that do it and probably the best at it. But there’s a lot of people here that do this, and it’s a lot of fun."
Despite its size, the alligator is more than a foot short of being the largest ever found in the U.S.
According to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, an alligator measuring 15 feet 9 inches was found in 2014 and is the largest known to date.