Jackson County

It took 6 men and a forklift to wrangle Coast gator caught minutes after season opening

Alligators draw tourists to Jackson County

Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Tours draws tourists from across the country who want to come face to face with alligators. Visitors are able to take a swamp boat tour to see alligators in their natural habitat.
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Gulf Coast Gator Ranch & Tours draws tourists from across the country who want to come face to face with alligators. Visitors are able to take a swamp boat tour to see alligators in their natural habitat.

The pets of Mary Walker Bayou can rest easy after a massive dog-gobbling gator was caught in the first few minutes of the season Friday afternoon.

The 13.6-foot alligator could be the biggest ever caught in South Mississippi, said Derrick Saucier of Pascagoula, who’s been hunting them for years. But he’s checking with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to be sure.

He and a friend, Jarrod Davis of Hurley, were out in a boat counting down the minutes to noon, when the 2019 alligator season officially started.

They immediately hooked a gator but spent over an hour trying to get it to the boat, and after six men couldn’t lift it, they dragged it in had to borrow a forklift. “We were just lucky enough to catch it,” Saucier said.

He said the gator had long been a problem in the neighborhood and several dogs had been killed.

“I’m happy to help the people out in that neighborhood... it’s been a menace for quite a few years.”

Saucier was one of over 4,000 people to apply for 930 permits the state issued this year. The season closes at noon Sept. 10.

The statewide record is 14 feet and 3/4 inches, caught near Natchez in 2017.

But what do Saucier and Davis plan to do with 13.6 feet of gator?

It’s destined for a full-body mount on the wall of Davis’ man cave.

Scott Berry has his heart set on finding the 14-foot "monster" alligator he hooked two years ago and got away. After leading two first-time alligator hunters to Mississippi state records in 2014, its Berry's turn to find the "king of the swamp."

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