Biggest gator of the season caught in Chattahoochee - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Biggest gator of the season caught in Chattahoochee

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

BAKER COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Another huge alligator was pulled from a South Georgia river Monday night.

This one's the biggest yet.

A 13 and a half foot, nearly 900 pound gator was caught in the Chattahoochee River in Early County.

The hunter and his father harpooned him, then shot him with a .45 caliber pistol.

"Whoa! Look at his giant teeth!" exclaims a small child as he stares at what looks like a prehistoric creature from a sci-fi movie.

"To tell the truth, on television is the only place I've ever seen one that big. I didn't think they really got that big around here," says Newton resident Bennie Benton. "It feels unreal. Like it's artificial or something."

But this monster gator is very real. And Zane Riley, along with his father, caught the beast Monday night in the Chattahoochee River.

"There's too much adrenaline for it to be scary," Riley says. "I put the first .45 shot in his head and then two more assurance shots. But that still wasn't good enough for me. We still waited probably another 45 minutes. But it does get scary when you think he's dead but then he starts twitching and you're in waist-deep water with him."

When we caught up with Riley at a gas station in Newton, a crowd had gathered to check out the gigantic gator.

"I've been around a bunch of big deer in a parking lot before but this takes the cake. I mean, I knew it was a big gator, but I didn't know everyone else would think it was a big deal," Riley admits.

To give you an idea of exactly how big this alligator is, the front of this trailer to the end measures ten feet long, and the gator's tail is still hanging off the back.

"13 and a half feet or better?" Benton asks. "That's a big gator for Newton, Georgia!"

And while these people were excited to see a huge gator in person...

"With something this big," Benton proposes, "I think they should stuff it and put it where a lot of people can come see it."

...they hope never to encounter one in the wild.

"I'm gonna think about that twice before I go out there and try to swim in the river."

He says he'll leave that to the trained gator hunters, like Riley.

DNR rangers estimate the gator at around 70 years old and between 800 and one thousand pounds.

It's likely the biggest gator bagged so far this gator hunting season.

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