Thursday, July 5, 2012
I have been fishing the Eufaula area since before the gators migrated up the river. Back in the 70's you never saw a gator, just alot of snakes. But sometime in the early 80's the gators began creeping in. The snakes began clearing out. The gators were eating them. We used to have giant snapping turtles, no more. There used to be alligator gar that averaged 6 to 7 feet long, not any more. The gators ate them. Many times we've found beaver, deer, and otters dying at the edge of the water, with a limb missing that had been biten off.
Today you don't hardly ever see a snake of any kind on the water. There are no big turtles, or alligator gar. I haven't heard a beaver slap the water with his tail in 20 years. People who visit the lake and don't come down too often don't realize how many gators there really are down there. These same people have been seen feeding the gators to get pictures of them. They don't realize what they're teaching the gators. That people equals food. They are loosing their fear of man.
These same idiots are swimming in the water with the gators on inflatable rafts like the kids ride on at the beach. I am afraid it's just a matter of time until someone gets ate. The last time I was down there in the summer time I had 13 gators around my boat at one time. They ranged in size from 4-12 feet long. They have no natural enemies once they reach a couple of feet long. They are continually multipling.
If we are drawn for a tag in the lottery, we will try to be selective on the size of gator we take. There are plenty in the 10- 13 foot range. I look forward to the chance to hunt one. As with everything we hunt, I also look forward to a good supply of gator meat. Gator tail is delicious!!!
We may not get drawn at all. I read that only about 40'something tags would be given out for the Eufaula area, and there will probably be a few thousand applicants. You never know until you try. If we could, it would be an adventure.
Jim Cobb Coleman.