Hunting down gators: A battle of wits - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Hunting down gators: A battle of wits

LAKE SEMINOLE, GA (WALB) -

Alligator hunting is growing in popularity, but capturing a trophy gator is no easy catch.

In the past few years upwards of 10,000 people per apply each season for gator hunting licenses and only a handful of hunters are chosen through a drawing system.

This year the season began on August 14th and was extended through October 5th. More tags were also issued.

Hunting guide Dave Lesniak with Coweta County Gator Getters has been hunting gators since the state legalized the sport in 2003. But as the popularity has increased, so has the difficulty.

"They're a million year old animal. They've adapted to being hunted," he said. "When I first started doing this, you could ride right up on them. But not anymore."

Lesniak has had success this season on Lake Seminole. Out of 10 guided hunts, 8 have been successful.

Already this season two 12-foot plus gators were taken on Lake Seminole. It's also home to the state record 13 foot 10 inch alligators that was taken in 2013.

Hunters must abide by regulations. They're limited to snares, snatch hooks, harpoons, arrows and gigs to capture gators. 

Size limitations are in place and hunters receive one tag to harvest a catch in one of the state 10 designated hunting zones.

"Last year the success rate was only 29 percent," Lezniak said.

But he says that's what makes the sport even more exciting. It's man vs. beast in a game of wits.

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