Alligators are considered dangerous game in Florida!  They are the sort of prehistoric reptilian predator that our ancestors have battled for centuries.  Get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!  And what could be more exciting? Doing it at NIGHT from an airboat- the best gator hunting in Florida is done with a guide after dark! You can hunt gator by harpoons, gigs, snatch hooks, spears, spear guns, crossbows or archery equipment and bang stick at night or by rifle or handgun during daylight hours.  These hunts are up close and personal. They provide a thrilling hands on adventure. These hunts usually involve an exciting airboat ride at night to locate the alligators. Once located, the alligator must be caught by harpoon with a line attached to a float or shot with a bow equipped with a fishing rigged arrow.  Once the alligator is secured with the line, he must be harvested with a bang stick.  This is the most exciting method for harvesting a trophy alligator.  Alligator hunts can be done year round on private lands and lakes or during the state season on public lands and waters which requires a state issued tag- these tags are available by application at large in a limited set number so it is important to make your reservations and choices early to make sure your outfitter has a tag for you- preplanning is paramount to have a successful stress free adventure!

A few facts about Alligators! Alligators may occur anywhere there is water—lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, swamps, and even man-made canals.  According to the Everglades National Park website, the largest alligator ever recorded in Florida was 17 feet 5 inches, although according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission the Florida state record for length is a 14 feet 5/8 inches male from Lake Monroe in Seminole County.  The largest specimen ever recorded was found in Louisiana and measured 19 feet 2 inches.  A true dinosaur!  The general family Alligatoridae first appeared about 35 million years ago.  When the Spanish explorers first began to trek across Florida and into North America about 500 years ago, they discovered “dragons,” dubbing these giant hard-to-kill toothy reptiles, “El Lagarto,” or “the lizard.” Over the centuries, English-speaking people corrupted the Spanish phrase into “alligator,” known to scientists as “Alligator mississippiensis.”   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed alligators from the Endangered Species List in 1987, there are over 1,300,000 alligators in Florida alone- the average lifespan for an alligator is 50 years.  In the state of Florida, it is illegal to feed wild alligators at any time. If fed, alligators eventually lose their fear of humans and learn to associate humans with food, thereby becoming a great danger to people. .

DANGEROUS GAME!

Alligators are considered dangerous game in Florida and should be treated as such, with respect at all times- an alligator can outrun a horse over a short distance! Alligators primarily hunt at dusk or during the night and will eat just about anything including fish, frogs, birds, turtles, insects, snakes, small mammals, other alligators, white-tailed deer, wild hogs, and sometimes people’s pets.  Alligators are agile and can be good climbers!  Adults have been known to climb fences to get to water or escape captivity.  Fences should be more than 4.5 feet tall if you are attempting to keep alligators out of your yard and away from your pets.  More than 200 unprovoked alligator attacks on humans have been documented since 1948, with 17 resulting in fatalities.  There have been 11 people killed by an alligator in the past 53 years in Florida. Five of the deaths have been children under age 12.  But don’t worry too much!!  Did you know that an average of 150 people per year are killed worldwide by falling coconuts? Or that from 1959 to 2003, lightning killed 425 people in the Sunshine State.  With proper care and using common sense alligators can be viewed, enjoyed and hunted safely in Florida’s natural beauty!

Alligator Recipes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound alligator meat, cut into chunks Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Flour, for dredging
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot sauce
  • 1 bottle store bought ranch dressing for dipping

Directions

Heat a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. Lightly season gator meat with salt and pepper prior to dredging them in flour. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce into 1 mixture. Dip the gator meat into the buttermilk and hot sauce mixture and dip, once again, in flour. Then place in deep fryer until golden brown, just a couple minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve with ranch dressing.