Weight record falls as 'gator season opens

September 3, 2013 9:08:56 AM



JACKSON -- During the first weekend of Mississippi's alligator season a hunting party from Madison held the weight record for an alligator taken in the state. But the record only lasted about an hour. 


Beth Trammell took a 13-foot, 5.5-inch long, 723.5-pound alligator early Sunday in Issaquenna County in the Yazoo Diversion Canal. It broke the previous weight record of 697.5 pounds. 


However, Mississippi Alligator program coordinator Ricky Flynt tells WLBT TV that one hour after he certified Trammell's record, he certified another record-breaking gator. 


Dustin Bockman, a UPS driver from Vicksburg, took the 727-pound alligator in the Mississippi River in Claiborne County. It was 13-feet, 4.5-inches long. 


The current length record remains 13-feet, 6.5-inches. That alligator was taken on the Pascagoula River in 2008. 


Bockman's brother, Ryan Bockman, and friend Cole Landers assisted him. 


Brandon Maskew of Ellisville set a record for a female alligator. Maskew took the 295.3 pound alligator Friday night in the Pascagoula River. The alligator was 10' long and is now the current length and weight record. 


Elsewhere in the state, it took a Brookhaven couple and their friends two days to reel in a 650-700 pound alligator from the Pascagoula River. 


WLOX TV reports (http://bit.ly/1a13Ygc) that first-time gator hunters Michael Piper and his wife Bethany Piper started their hunt on Friday aboard an 18 foot aluminum center console fishing boat. They were joined by friends and experienced hunters Terry Fauver, of Brookhaven, Eric Bowers of Jackson and Dean Nettles of Jackson. 


"We actually did not see a whole lot of alligators," Michael Piper said. "We had seen a smaller gator that we were going after." 


Suddenly a massive gator caught their eye. 


Around 11:45 p.m. on Friday they hooked it with a fishing pole just south of the I-10 long bridge in Pascagoula. 


"We had, at one time, five deep sea fishing rods with 200 pound test line and five grownups couldn't bring the alligator up from the bottom," he said. "This particular one, just the sheer size of the gator, none of us had any idea. Once we hooked him he got under the water. And when he surfaced we were all shocked of the size of him." 


Michael Piper said they had to ask boaters nearby to help and at 2 a.m. Saturday the 11' 5 ½" gator was finally shot with a shotgun and pulled into the boat. 


He said they are having the gator's meat processed and some of it made into sausage. They are also going to have the head mounted. 


"Our children were very excited they've seen the pictures," Michael Piper said.