CADDO LAKE (KSLA) - Dramatic photos of a huge alligator killed on Caddo Lake almost seemed too big to be true. The images have attracted a lot of attention on social media.
So, we went to East Texas to investigate.
Amateur alligator hunter Jeremy Moore described the moment he, his dad and two young sons spotted a huge gator on a family friend's property in the Gray community of Marion County, Texas along Caddo Lake.
"We opened the gate to go in and he wasn't even in the water. He was on the bank on our property," recalled Moore.
Moore said their adventure all began back on Sunday, May 22 in the Clinton Lake area of Caddo Lake.
"We eased up there to him and actually thought that he was dead."
The giant gator then lifted its head so they shot it.
"Kids kind of freaked out because they don't stop moving when they're dead. They still move, reaction. Their tale flinches and this and that. So, kids wouldn't really mess with him for a couple hours."
According to Moore, the gator measured 13 feet 2 inches and weighed 900 pounds. But Moore said the reactions to the first photos he posted on Facebook surprised him. He said the comments included, "Ah, that's fake, it can't be real, it's photoshopped. So then I added a few more photos."
And according to two Texas game wardens, it's real and Moore followed all the proper procedures. As for Moore, he said while that was their first gator hunt, he does not expect it to be their last. Although, Moore added that next time they'll try to catch a smaller alligator.
He said that's largely because of the huge amount of work involved. They had to use a tractor and front-end loader and laid the alligator on a 24-foot trailer to skin and butcher it. That alone took 5 hours with 3 generations at work.
"There was my dad, me and my two boys. So, that's three generations that will be talking about this. And it's something that we won't ever forget," concluded Moore.
In Texas, you can only hunt for alligators on private property during hunting season. Although, you are allowed to set a line and hook that extends above public water, to entice the gator to the private property. Then, you can send in for an alligator tag afterwards, by mailing in a form to the Texas Parks and Wildlife office in Austin.
Marion and Harrison Counties are considered non-core counties, because of smaller alligator populations. The non-core gator season runs from April 1 to June 30, and hunters must have a general hunting license. Texas Game Warden Darren Peeples said violators of those laws could face a fine ranging from $25 to $500 dollars, as a Class C misdemeanor
Different laws apply in Louisiana, where there is a west zone and an east zone. Northwest Louisiana falls in the west zone, where gator hunting season begins the first Wednesday in September and continues for 30-days.
The east zone season begins the last Wednesday of August and also continues for 30-days. In Louisiana, hunters need a specific alligator hunting license, and must have it before the season starts.