This was to be a special hunt. Though I have been on over 20 public gator
hunts if you include my son's youth hunts, this one was to be my wife's
first. Also this was only Engeling's 5th alligator hunt. It is a creek and
not the typical coastal marsh hunt. I was first bow hunting Gus Engeling
many years ago when they had September bow deer hunts. Hogs were relatively
new to Texas and it was always exciting to see them on those hunts. There is
even a brood alligator in one of the ponds on the area that I remember from
back in the day and she is still kicking it. They say her DNA matches
several of the younger gators on the area. I have wanted to gator hunt there
for years. I tried for this hunt every time they offered it, even went for a
standby try last time but lost out in the hat draw. This year, my family was
finally drawn. We found someone to baby sit my Vizsla Blaze, but my young
dog Dash Rip Rock got to go on this trip as well
Friday first hunt day after the orientation was miserable. Driving rain most of the day.
We knew the creek would rise over the night, but we did not know how much so
even with what limited scouting could be done, we chose to set the lines
extra high in case the water in the creek came up. My wife who is not a
hunter did great and stayed with us through the brush and briars. It was so
wet we changed rain gear three times on Friday.
Saturday morning, nothing. The creek had come up at least a foot. We
encountered some guys in hammocks in the woods and backed out. Later hearing
rifle shots in their direction. Turned out the game warden was looking for
them. One line we had set in an area that is popular for fishing and with
that I realized there would be no old gators there. No way one would survive
the years with easy access to poachers and idiots that would illegally shoot
Luckily the rain let up. We scouted down the creek deeper into the woods. We
found a great spot where the creek changed from 4 feet wide and 3 inches
deep, so over my head deep and several feet wide. What we were looking for
had to be there. But before we got a line moved, my wife had an accident.
She fell and cut the bridge of her nose bad enough and deep enough that she needed
professional care or she would be left with a bad scar. So we dropped
everything, found the son of one of the WMA employees that let me rob from his first
aid kit, and headed for the emergency room in Palestine. My wife wanted us to
drop her off and go back, but that was not happening.
I would never post a bloody picture of my wife online, but the expression on my son's face
is too priceless not to share it. So I found a way.
The trail where my wife fell, if you want to call it a trail.
While she was waiting for her turn in emergency, I took my son across the street to
Wal-Mart to get some food and a shirt for my wife as her shirt was covered
in blood. In a hurry, I saw a Black Duck Dynasty T shirt with Uncle Si on
the front for $7.50. It was folded up and said "They call me...". Looked
good enough to get her through the rest of the hunt and back to the Hotel.
In the truck my son opened it up and started laughing. "They call me Beaver
Commander". I said "very funny, its duck commander". My son showed me
the shirt and OH MY, I told my son he could tell her he picked it out.
My wife was a good sport about it, thought the story and shirt was funny,
and wore it the rest of the day. Fortunately they were able to super glue the
wound rather than stitches. Hopefully it will not leave much of a scar if any.
With only two hours left in the day and our found honey hole almost three
miles into the woods, we rushed in with two lines and doubled up on it. The
third line was moved to a spot where I had seen smaller gators in the past
while fishing. We got that last line up in the last minutes of the hunt for
Saturday. It was a group effort, but my son was promised he would get to
shoot and tag the biggest one.
Sunday was nice, though we did have to deal with a bad tire on the way.
First line revealed a 4 foot 4 inch gator. It was like a rabid Chihuahua on
a leash and ready to fight. It was taken out with my bayonet to the back of
the skull. My wife who is not normally the hunter, was sad that we could not
let it go.
Out he comes....
Look close you can see the gator's open mouth snapping at me through the brush.
Then the honey hole. We found one line still up, but a second line down and
wrapped in some underwater logs. It felt like we had a small gator. The
water hand risen maybe 2 feet, so I was also worried that we might have a
gar or snapping turtle. After a lot of work to untangle the line.... WOW a
head of a 13 footer came up and ready to fight. Worried that the leader may
have been weakened from rubbing on the logs all night I chose to lasso the
gator by the head with another rope. Good thing too as the hook did
eventually straighten and pull out of his gut.
Dash had spent most of his time in a crate or back in the truck, but he was present for the final gator.
Dash behaved himself till he saw the gator. He gave my wife a workout holding the leash.
Especially when I ended up in the water with the gator. Dash was ready to save me.
I had my son straddle some tree roots close to the water, handed him our
gator gun. An Indian SMLE Enfield .410 musket. I worked to place the gator
for a perfect easy shot. It did snap it's jaws with a loud "CLOMP!" and it
did grab the end of the gun and try to pull it away from my son. Once shot,
I rigged up a pulley system with carabineers to cut the load in half, but
could not get it out of the water. First time in over 20 gator hunts, I had
to call for help. When I find time to finish editing it, I will post the video of the kill to this thread.