Some family outings consist of a picnic basket and a rousing game of wiffle ball, while others involve a 20-gauge shotgun and a half-ton Alabama alligator.
Mandy and John Stokes, accompanied by her brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his two children, Savannah and Parker, landed a 15-foot, 1,011.5-pound alligator in the early hours of Saturday morning in a creek 80 miles west of Montgomery.
When Stokes was lucky enough to be issued one of the state’s coveted tags for the six-day season, she couldn’t have anticipated that she’d wind up killing what would become a new Alabama state record.
Not only did Stokes’ gator crush the standing record, a 14-foot, 2-inch, 838-pound monster caught by Keith Fancher in 2011, her prize has the potential to become a world record for the species. The standing world record is an 880-pound gator killed in Texas that was 14 feet, 8 inches long.
After a monumental struggle, the Stokes were able to put their 17-foot boat alongside the 15-foot alligator for the kill shot.
“He came up just as calm as he could,” Mandy Stokes told Al.com. “That’s the only thing on Swamp People that’s true. When I pulled the trigger this time, water just exploded on all of us.”
The fight lasted a total of 10 hours and the first attempt to weigh the beast at a Roland Cooper State Park check-in station resulted in a broken wench. The crew needed a backhoe to hoist the alligator for official weighing.
Though it was her first Alabama gator hunt and hopes it won’t be her last, Mandy Stokes has her reservations about going through an ordeal of that magnitude again.
“Right now the fairest way for me to say it is that we’ll apply again, but I can assure you, I have no desire to hook into anything like this again. I truly don’t,” she said.