Hunters Catch 800-Pound Record-Breaking Alligator in Yazoo River

Hunters have set a new record in Mississippi by capturing the state’s longest alligator in the Yazoo River.

The massive creature measured an impressive 14 feet and 3 inches (4.34 meters) and tipped the scales at 802.5 pounds (364 kilograms), reports the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP).

This surpasses the prior record of a 14-foot, 0.75-inch-long (4.29 m) gator that weighed 766.5 pounds (347.5 kg). This previous champion was caught in 2017 near Natchez.

The hunters bagged this gargantuan male alligator during Mississippi’s annual 10-day hunting season that starts on the last Friday of August, as outlined by the MDWFP.

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Image credit: Red Antler Processing

Recounting the eventful night, hunter Donald Woods shared with the Clarion Ledger, a local news agency, “It was a calm night. We saw several 8-foot and 10-foot alligators, but they weren’t our target.”

The group managed to hook the colossal reptile around 9 p.m., but it took them seven painstaking hours to finally overpower it. Woods narrated, “We hooked him eight or nine times and he kept breaking off. It was more mentally draining than physical, given how many times he escaped.”

It was only upon getting the creature onto their boat that the hunters fully grasped its enormity. Woods expressed his astonishment, saying, “We were just amazed at how wide his back was and how big the head was. It felt unreal, honestly.”

After their catch, they reached out to MDWFP Alligator Program’s Andrew Arnett, who verified the measurements and officially recognized the new record. Photos of the hunters alongside their monumental catch were taken at the Red Antler Processing facility in Yazoo City.

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Alligators, scientifically known as Alligator mississippiensis, are common throughout Mississippi. However, it’s imperative to note that hunting them is forbidden unless during the specific season and without an exclusive permit from the MDWFP. Those with permits can capture two alligators that are over 4 feet long (1.2 m) and one exceeding 7 feet (2.1 m), ensuring balanced hunting across different age groups.

For context, the heaviest American alligator on record was a 15-foot, 9-inch behemoth from Alabama in 2014, weighing in at 1,011.5 pounds (459 kg). While alligators continue to grow as they age, the rate diminishes over time and varies based on factors like gender and habitat.

Typically, male alligators grow more quickly and are larger than their female counterparts, although surpassing 13 feet (4 m) is a rarity.

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