Where does a 727-pound alligator go? Anywhere it wants, except in Mississippi it seems.
Alligators, known for their longevity, were on the losing end of confrontations with two hunting parties over the Labor Day weekend in Mississippi. The new record is a 727-pound gator taken by crossbow and shotgun along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River in Claiborne County.
That catch was certified after state officials gave the record to a 723.5 pound alligator taken early Sunday in Issaquena County in the Yazoo River Diversion Canal. That "gator broke the previous Mississippi weight record of 697.5 pounds," Ricky Flynt, the alligator program coordinator for the state's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, told WLBT-TV.
The two records kicked off the opening weekend of the state's alligator season. Though the state weight record fell – twice – the length record is still intact at 13 feet, 6.5 inches. That record was set in 2008 in the Pascagoula River.
The first record to fall was a 13-foot, 5.5-inch alligator caught by Beth Trammell and five friends. Though American alligators have reached as much as 790 pounds elsewhere, their catch smashed through the 700-pound barrier, the state’s equivalent of a major record – sort of like Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs.
“When we first saw him, I yelled, 'Oh my gosh, we caught the Loch Ness Monster!'" Trammell told ABC News. “It was totally unbelievable.”
That record fell just an hour later, after a group that included Dustin Brockman, a UPS driver from Vicksburg, caught the 727-pound alligator. It measured 13-feet, 4.5-inches long.
“We chased him for about two hours,” Brakeman told NBC. “Then we got a shot on him.”
Brockman said the group used a crossbow and then fired a shotgun into the beast. Like Trammell’s catch, it took the Brockman party almost four hours to get the creature into a boat. It was too heavy for the three fishermen to do the job, so they had to wait in the middle of the river for the sun to rise.
“We killed the alligator at 4 a.m.,” Brockman told television reporters. “We waited until 6:30 [a.m.] before I called three or four more guys to help us load it into the boat.”