FOUKE, Ark. — A large alligator was caught in the Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area near Fouke in Southwest Arkansas.
Jagger East, his friend Carson Bumgardner, and cousin Gil Elam were all out hunting on the Sulphur River when they encountered what he referred to as a "monster" of an alligator.
"We knew he was a big one, but it was when he came out of the water like a dolphin when we went into shock and were wondering how are we going to get this monster in the boat, “ said East.
Trey Reid, Assistant Chief of Communications with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said that in order for any alligator to be taken by hunters, their regulations require them to be 4 feet or longer.
East mentioned that the alligator measured up at a total length of 12 ft 6in. Though they did not have a scale big enough to accurately weigh the gator, East said they estimated him to weigh around 850-900lbs.
"Our 5,000-pound winch wouldn’t pick him up," he explained.
He added that they had a guy look into the alligator, and he estimated the age of the gator to be approximately 40-50 years.
East commented that he and his friend, Carson, go hunting almost every year, but they typically have to purchase private land tags.
He also said that the Arkansas Game and Fish commission only gives out one of those tags per year.
This year, he was lucky enough to draw the land tag for their local Wildlife Management Area.
They captured the alligator just a few minutes upriver of the I-49 and Hwy 71 bridge in Doddridge, Arkansas. East is a native of Texarkana, Arkansas, and explained that his huge catch has been the talk of the town!
He said that this catch has been his biggest catch to date!
When they tried to wrangle up the gator, they actually thought he was dead, but much to their surprise, when they got ready to hang him up with the winch, he "came back to life!"
East said that he has been trying to prepare the alligator's hide for a mount, and the meat is headed to their local processor.
"I’ve got more meat than I know what to do with, we are ready to have a big ole cookout!" explained East.
He's so excited about his catch and is looking forward to having that cookout.
During the 2022 season, hunters in Arkansas were able to bring in 157 total alligators.
The alligator hunting season, which spans over two weekends and is only permitted at night, came to an end upon daybreak Monday morning.