Editor’s Note: Mark Land and his friend from LaGrange, Georgia, harvested two alligators from Lake Eufaula in one night while bowfishing: The first alligator was 11’ 4” long and weighed more than 500 pounds. The alligator that Land harvested weighed 739 pounds and was 12’ 6” long. Besides these two men, they also had Tate Morrell. “The Gator Whisperer,” in the boat with them. Now the problem became how to get all three men and those two monster gators back to the boat launch.
When I shot my alligator, I saw that my arrow had punctured his left lung, and he was almost dead when he came up beside the boat. So, before we brought him in the boat, I shot him with a second arrow and punctured his other lung. I had brought two nooses on a catch stick with me for this hunt. I could slip one of the nooses around the alligator’s neck. The second noose had a looped wire on it, so I could slip that wire noose around the alligator’s jaws, pull the noose tight and then proceed to try and get the alligator in the boat. Once the alligator came alongside the boat, he was so big we knew we couldn’t get it in the boat. So, I turned the alligator on its back and used electrical tape to hold its jaws shut. We tied the gigantic alligator to the side of the boat and started going downriver, hoping to find somebody who could help us get this huge gator in our boat.
Fortunately, we found four guys who already had taken a 9-foot alligator. They were all taking about how big their gator was, what they had had to do to take it, and how their hunt had gone. We just listened. Then they asked, “How did y’all do?” They saw my friend’s alligator first. Then they saw the alligator on the side of the boat – my gator. We told them we needed some help. They laughed and said, “No, you need a lot of help.” So, we dragged my alligator to the bank. The three of us stayed in the boat, and the four of them got in the water beside the boat and tried to roll that big gator into the boat.
After we got the alligators back to our vehicle and loaded them up, we took them to an alligator processor in Camilla, Georgia, called Glass Enterprises. That was where we’d always taken alligators that we’d harvested. I sold the alligator to the processor. Then I bought back the head, the feet and some of the meat. The processor kept the rest. At that time, the processors were paying big money for alligator hides. So, I got prime money for that alligator, but since then, the prices for alligator hides have dropped. I got the head mounted in a European mount, and I got to keep the feet and quite a bit of the meat. This bowfishing trip had to be my trip of a lifetime.
To learn more about bowfishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “The Bowfishing Bible,” available in Kindle and print versions, at – http://amzn.to/22zX7Zz.
Tomorrow: How Mark Land Arrowed the Choke Canyon Monster Gar