Rob Trammell, from left, Parker Coleman and Beth Trammell, all of Madison, and Amanda Jackson, Tommy Jackson and Sean King, all of Yazoo City, stand by their 723.5-pound alligator, which set a Mississippi record that lasted about an hour. / Special to The Clarion-Ledger
In the world of alligator hunting, anything can happen. But not even Nostradamus could have predicted how this opening weekend would unfold.
There was excitement from the start as word spread that Brandon "Boo" Maskew of Ellisville had harvested a female alligator weighing 295.3 pounds and measuring 10 feet, breaking both the heaviest and longest records for a female.
By mid-morning Sunday, Beth Trammell of Madison sent out another shockwave. A first-time hunter, Trammell said her crew hooked up on a large gator after heading for a boat launch and calling it quits for the night.
With two lines on it, the animal fought hard for 1 1/2 hours and pushed Trammell's husband, Rob, and hunter Sean King, of Yazoo City to their physical limits. When the alligator finally surfaced beside the boat, Beth Trammell said, "Oh, my gosh. It's the Loch Ness monster."
The six-person party spent the following two hours trying to wrestle the behemoth into the boat and finally succeeded after two other hunters offered assistance.
When the harvest was officially weighed, it was obvious why they had so much trouble loading it. The gator came in at an enormous 723.5 pounds, beating the state record for heaviest male by 26 pounds.
At the same time Trammell's party was fighting its gator in Issaquena County, Dustin Bockman of Yazoo City and two partners were chasing another wily reptile on the Mississippi River a few miles away near Port Gibson.
After two hours of playing cat and mouse, Bockman said, he got close enough to shoot the gator with a crossbow. Bockman then picked up a rod and reel and hooked the gator - and the fight between man and really, really big beast began.
After a two-hour ordeal, they were able to secure and dispatch the animal. That was the easy part.
The three faced the same dilemma as Trammell's bunch - getting their trophy into the boat. After four hours of pulling and tugging, they gave up and headed for a sandbar.
There they sat for the next 2 1/2 hours, swatting mosquitoes and waiting for help. "Tired, hungry, we'd been pulling on a 700-pound gator for four hours, and we really needed a nap at that point," said Bockman. Sleep never came, but help did and 12 hours after their hunt began, the three finally had their gator and boat on their trailer.
When Bockman's 13-foot, 4.5-inch gator was weighed, the scales stopped at 727 pounds and the hour-old state record fell.
Brian Albert Broom for The Clarion-Ledger