EUFAULA, AL (WTVM) – Three Alabamians had a major catch on Lake Eufaula earlier this month – a massive, 900+ pound, more than 13-foot alligator.
The alligator was caught on Aug. 14 by Scott Evans, of Center Point, AL, and Jeff and Justin Gregg, of Birmingham.
Jeff Gregg said that catching the 920-pound, 13'6"-long alligator was "a dream." Gregg said he and Evans have been hunting alligators for five years. Evans, who is the registered tag holder, was the driver of the boat.
"We went out with the intention of only catching a large alligator," Gregg said. "My son Justin and I were watching the Perseid meteor shower when he caught him."
After wrangling the alligator with treble hooks, they called the game warden to verify that they legally captured the beast. In total, Gregg said it took six people – including two Alabama Conservation Enforcement officers, to pull the creature out of the water.
"We would not have gotten that alligator in the boat had it not been for those two game wardens," Gregg said.
The happy hunter said in years prior, he and Evans never saw a gator this size – including spending three whole days on a lake in 2014. He said they spotted their greatest catch after being on the water for only 30 minutes. The party of three were taken out with a guide, Mike Gifford, when they caught the alligator.
Gregg said that the alligator has been harvested for its meat – 230 pounds of it, not counting the tendons or dark meat – and the hide will be displayed by a taxidermist.
The Birmingham jewelry store owner and manager said it was a different experience for his 15-year-old son, Justin, who has never seen an animal that large up close – and definitely a bonding experience for father and son.
Supervising Wildlife Biologist Bill Gray, of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, says that alligators aren't an uncommon sight in Eufaula.
"Alligators are part of the natural ecosystem of Eufaula and have been for several decades now," Gray said. "Based on the reported length and weight, this is the largest known alligator taken off Eufaula. It is not a state or world record alligator however."
Acquiring permits to catch alligators at Lake Eufaula is no simple task, Gray said.
"There were 20 alligator permits for Eufaula this year issued a random drawing; hunters must possess a hunting license, their alligator hunting permit, required boating safety equipment and must adhere to all rules and regulations pertaining to size, capture and dispatch of alligators," Gray said. "Alligators may be taken using a hand thrown harpoon, a snag hook, archery equipment, or a snare pole. Alligators may not be taken using floats or firearms; firearms may be used only to dispatch a legally caught and secured alligator at the boat."
The catch is close to the state record bohemoth: in 2014, a 15'9", 1,011.5 pound alligator was caught in Meek Creek, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.