With opening day of archery deer season hitting this last weekend, you would think I might have a column on a bow hunt. For a reason I cannot ignore, I had to forgo this weekend’s opening. For the last three years I have attempted to pull a tag for an alligator in Georgia. This weekend allowed me to put a check beside an item on my hunting bucket list.
|Georgia Alligator tag for 2011.|
Now my wife, she had nightmares about this trip. All she could envision was some swamp people with no teeth. Their tools of the trade would consist of a chain saw and a banjo, and likely be using me for gator bait. When I met Dane and his wife Sheri in person, I asked them to smile big for me. Seeing they each had their teeth, I told them my wife's concerns and we all got a good laugh out of it.
|Gator trying to get in the boat.|
The hunt had its challenges. After the first evening, we saw several dozen alligators, their reflective red eyes resembling a demon resting on the water’s surface. We practiced calling, using a sound that imitates a young gator in distress. Without fail, when we made the call, eyes would surface to see what was making the commotion. Once we had a small alligator make a swim to the boat. Dane commented if we had steps, the gator would have come right into the boat. It is an eerie feeling in the swamps with the different noises, the glowing eyes, and the soft lifting fog in the middle of the darkness. When we were pulling out that morning we heard a pop and watched the boat’s front end lower. Upon investigation, the trailer broke near the tongue. We set the boat and trailer to the side and decided to catch a few hours sleep, and then we would return with a generator and welder to secure the trailer in order to get it back to the house.
After we made the repairs, we borrowed a boat from one of Dane’s relatives. Things seemed to be working against us, but we were going to give it a good try with a positive attitude regardless. Even if we did not harvest an ‘ole swamp lizard, we were enjoying the hunt and the pursuit.
|Dane Lancaster (Nashville, Ga) and Bill Howard|
|With the right photography, even this 6 foot'r looks like a monster!|