Each year, alligator hunters bag reptiles that appear to reach incredible lengths.
Only a few states allow hunters to harvest alligators, so long as they have appropriate hunting licenses and tags. Most of these states are typically located in the southeastern United States where alligators are native.
Alligators that measure over 10 feet are usually harvested from late summer to fall. Though, hunting season dates and terms vary from state to state.
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Here’s a quick glance at some of the nation’s most notable harvested alligator records and reports.
The Yellowhammer State holds the current world record for the longest harvested alligator, which measured 15 feet and weighed 1,011.5 pounds.
The record was established and verified in August 2014, according to the Alabama Department of Conservation Natural Resources (ADCNR).
Mandy Stokes, of Thomaston, Alabama, is credited for the record-breaking catch since she led her hunting group in the West Central Zone. She was joined by her husband, John Stokes, her brother-in-law, Kevin Jenkins, and two teenage children, Savannah and Parker Jenkins.
The world record alligator was harvested from the Alabama River near the City of Camden on Aug. 16, 2014, according to the ADCNR.
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The Sunshine State’s current harvested alligator length record is 14 feet, 3.5 inches.
The record was established in November 2010 by Robert Ammerman of Pine Hills, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The record-breaking alligator was classified as male and weighed 654 pounds. He was harvested from Lake Washington in Brevard County, according to FWC records.
At the time of the gator’s capture, wildlife experts told MyFoxOrlando.com that Ammerman’s record alligator was probably between the ages of 50 and 60.
The Peach State’s current harvested alligator length record is 14 feet, 1.75 inches. The record was set in September 2019 by Derrick and Shelby Snelson, a father-daughter duo from Meriwether County, Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR).
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The pair were joined by Lethal Guide Service – a local hunting guide team – who helped them land the 700-pound reptile from Walter F. George Lake (AKA Lake Eufaula). It was Derrick’s second time hunting alligator with Lethal Guide Service and Shelby’s first time, Fox News Digital reported at the time.
A spokesperson for the GDNR told Fox News Digital that while the wildlife agency doesn’t have an official state alligator record program, the data the group has on alligators caught in the state since the hunting category’s start in 2003 indicates that the Snelsons’ catch is the longest alligator recorded thus far.
The Pelican State holds the nation’s unofficial harvested alligator length record with a reptile that reportedly measured 19 feet, 2 inches, according to multiple sources that claim the animal was verified by record keepers.
Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny, son of Tabasco Company founder Edmund McIlhenny, claimed to have harvested the giant alligator in January 1890 from Marsh Island, an island off the coast of southern Louisiana. McIlhenny reportedly said he was originally duck hunting.
While McIlhenny’s alleged alligator record hasn’t been confirmed by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources as an official record, the American businessman wrote about his supposed catch in his 1935 book, “The Alligator’s Life History.”
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) recognizes the 19-foot alligator as “the largest alligator on record” as have other publications.
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The Magnolia State’s current harvested alligator length record was broken in August 2023 with a reptile that measured 14 feet, 3 inches, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP).
Tanner White of Flora, Don Woods of Oxford, Will Thomas of Madison and Joey Clark of Jackson, harvested the record-breaking alligator in the West Central Alligator Hunting Zone on Saturday, Aug. 26, the MDWFP confirmed in a Facebook post.
The 14-foot gator weighed 802.5 pounds and had a belly girth the measured 66 inches and tail girth that measured 46.5 inches, according to the MDWFP’s social media announcement.
The Tar Heel State resumed its alligator hunting season in 2018 after taking a hiatus in 1973 when the reptile was added to the federal endangered species list. Alligator hunting is restricted to select municipalities for population reduction, according to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC).
The NCWRC hasn’t publicly recognized a specific hunter for a harvest record, but the wildlife agency reports that male alligators “can reach 13 feet” and “weigh up to 500 pounds or more” and that female alligators “generally grow to less than 9 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds.”
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In July 2013, police in Jacksonville killed a 12-foot alligator that ate an 80-pound Siberian Husky that was playing fetch with his owner, according to FOX 8 News. The gator was put on display at the Onslow County Environmental Education Center and Sneads Ferry Branch Library a year later.
Ten months after the dog attack, a near 12-foot (11 feet, 11.75 inches) alligator that weighed 672 pounds was struck and killed by a minivan at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge near East Lake, North Carolina, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wildlife publications have speculated if the two alligators could be the two largest alligators the state has ever had since length and weight records seem to be scarce.
The Palmetto State’s current harvested alligator length record is reportedly 13 feet, 6 inches.
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Maryellen Mara-Christian, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, harvested the 13-foot alligator from Lake Moultrie on Sept. 15, 2010, which weighed 1,025 pounds, according to records from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Local news outlets noted that Mara-Christian stood at 5-foot-5 when she captured her record-breaking gator.
The Lone Star State’s current harvested alligator length record is 14 feet, 3 inches.
The record was achieved in May 2013 by Braxton Bielski of Fort Bend County, who was an 18-year-old high school senior, at the time, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
The alligator was harvested from the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area in Calliham, Texas, during a public hunt. Bielski and his father, Troy Bielski, were selected by the TPWD’s alligator permit lottery. The father and son duo were first-time alligator hunters, according to the TPWD.
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The 14-foot gator Bielski caught weighed 800 pounds and out-measured his father’s catch by four feet and 6 inches. Experts at TPWD estimated the record gator’s age was between 30 and 50 years old.
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