September 10, 2019
By G&F Online Staff
A monster alligator measuring more than 14 feet long may be the longest harvested by a hunter in Georgia history, according to several reports.
Officially, the alligator taken by Derrick Snelson of Greenville, Ga., out of Lake Eufaula in Southwest Georgia, measured 14 feet, 1 ¾ inches, making it the longest gator taken in Georgia since 2015, the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division said.
Snelson and his daughter were on a gator-fishing trip with friends and Lethal Guide Service on Lake Eufaula Labor Day weekend when the monster struck. It took the fishing party of five more than five hours to boat the reptile, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported. Photos of the beast drew thousands of likes on Lethal Guide Service’s page and elsewhere on Facebook. It reportedly weighed approximately 700 pounds, far shy of what is believed to be the state record for weight — around 900 pounds, according to Georgia Outdoor News.
While the state does not maintain an official state alligator record program, the gator “appears to be the longest alligator taken by a hunter” since 2003, WRD’s Melissa Cummings said in an email to Game & Fish.
According to DNR records, the longest gator ever harvested during Georgia’s alligator hunting season (began in 2003) was 14-1 — out of Lake Walter F. George in 2015 (aka Lake Eufaula).
Records also show a gator taken during the 2011 season weighed 860 pounds — it measured 13-4.
The previous longest alligator taken by a hunter in Georgia was 14-1 (2015), according to state data.
Snelson told WSB he plans to have a life-sized mount made of the gator. “I guess I'll have to build a house around it. It's going to be a monster laying on the living room floor for a while,” he said.
Alligator hunting season is open in Georgia through Oct. 7; only one gator is permitted per season.
More on alligators from Georgia DNR:
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a conservation success story. Due to loss of habitat and unregulated market hunting, alligators were reduced to low numbers by the early 1900s. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists and state wildlife agencies, alligators were listed as endangered in 1967. This status, combined with proactive management and law enforcement efforts by wildlife professionals, allowed alligator populations to rebound and they now flourish over most of their historic range. Alligator populations increased to the point that their protected status was down-listed in 1987 allowing greater flexibility to manage populations.
The alligator population in Georgia is one of many renewable natural resources that can sustain limited harvest in concert with biological monitoring and periodic evaluations. Georgia’s flourishing alligator population is managed through a regulated hunting season. Additionally, licensed nuisance alligator agent-trappers annually remove about 450 alligators in the state.