Two Southern hunters narrowly missed setting a new state record for the heaviest gator ever taken in Mississippi after an all-night battler for a Mississippi River alligator that was longer than their 12-foot johnboat.
“We were about dead,” Jumper told the Clarion-Ledger “It was rough. We just didn’t know how big it was.”
‘Missed it by a foot.’ Three-legged alligator almost breaks MS weight record. See how close https://t.co/Rwfhw6rW06
— Clarion Ledger (@clarionledger) September 6, 2023
Teddy Coats, who is in his mid 50s, and his brother-in-law Joel Jumper had begun scouting on the evening of Aug. 31 with plans to hunt the following night with a business client, who had state gator tags.
Coats, of Alligator, Mississippi, and Jumper, from Helena, Arkansas, located some gators and had returned to the boat ramp near the town of Friar’s Point. That’s when they noticed a set of eyes near the boat ramp. Deciding to quickly fill one of their own alligator tags before heading home, they cast a big hook into the gator and begun what they thought was a routine fight.
“We thought it was going to be a little 30-minute deal, but it didn’t work out that way,” Coats told the newspaper. “I was in the middle of the boat when I got a second line on him and he came alive. He almost pulled the boat under.”
Six hours later, they had harpooned the gator and used a .44 Magnum bang stick, but the creature still wouldn’t give up. “It was like fighting a great white shark,” Jumper says. “It was intense, it was hairy and it was scary. When he turned the boat sideways I thought it was over.”
By 4 a.m. the hard-fighting gator lodged itself under some logs and wouldn’t budge. They duo backed out and returned in the morning to recover the gator, when they were able to recover it. They lashed it to their johnboat, got it to shore, and hauled it out with their truck. That’s when they realized how huge the gator was.
“It was a monster,” Coats explained. “He looked like an old T-rex dinosaur. He had been through a lot of battles.”
One of those battles had apparently resulted in a lost leg for the 13 foot 7 inch gator. A game warden told the hunters the lost leg would have added 12 pounds to the reptile’s weight of 819.5 pounds, making the gator a Mississippi record for heaviest alligator ever recorded taken from public waters. The heaviest public-water gator on record weighed 822 pounds and was tagged in 2015, also from the Mississippi River. The state keeps separate records for public and private land gators, as well as the longest and heaviest male and female gators within those categories.
“I’m hoping to get the alligator that bit him if I ever get another permit,” said Coats. “And I’m going to get a bigger boat. It had to be another monster gator that bit him.”
Read Next: Mississippi Hunters Land New 14-Foot, State-Record Gator After 7-Hour Fight
The state record for the longest alligator ever killed in Mississippi was broken on Aug. 26 when hunter Donald Woods and his buddies tagged an 802.5-pound gator that measured 14 feet, 3 inches.
Depending on your hunting area and local regulations, there are a variety of methods for alligator hunting. You can bowfish, spot and stalk gators on shore and shoot them with a rifle, or snag them with giant treble hooks and fight them to the boat on heavy tackle. When you get the reptile to the boat, you shoot it in the head or bangstick it. You can read the full story of their hunt over on the Clarion-Legder.
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