Posted: Sep 3, 2013 12:28 PM by Jacob Kittilstad - WJTV
Updated: Sep 3, 2013 12:37 PM
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Vicksburg, MS - A half-century old, cold-blooded, and weighing more than a third of a ton: there's a new record for heaviest gator killed in Mississippi.
Three men struggled for hours to pull the beast out of the Mississippi River in Port Gibson. They say they finally got it out of the water on Monday morning.
The Mississippi Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Parks official calls it a record-breaker at 727 pounds.
Right now it's being kept in deep freeze at a Vicksburg meat processor - a frigid end to the heated battle with completely inexperience gator hunters.
The tag-holder is 27-year-old Dustin Bockman, a UPS driver who lives in Vicksburg.
"It was about 8 o'clock [p.m. on Sunday] and it was me, my brother Ryan, and one of my best friends Cole Landers," Bockman said.
"He marked him with a buoy with the first shot," Cole said of Bockman's strategy. "And we also snagged him with a rod and reel."
"After you get a hook in him then you just have to fight him and wear him out until you can get him up," Ryan Bockman, Dustin's brother, said.
"It was like trying to pull a tree out of the water," Dustin Bockman said.
"It just would go to the bottom and would not move. It didn't matter what you did. It'd just stay there until he decided to move," Bockman said.
After two hours of fighting the 50-something-year-old gator slipped up but it wouldn't break the surface of the water.
Three shots to the back of the head killed it but also earned it a nickname.
"Elmer," Bockman said. He explained, "When you stick a gun in the water and it shoots, the pressure, the gas comes out and it can't come out the end of the barrel. It exploded the gun barrel back like a banana he said that it looked like Elmer Fudd on the cartoon so he called him 'Elmer'."
Then the real struggle started. The group had to wait until dawn to find help pulling it from the river.
And at daybreak it officially became the top reptile of the Magnolia State - picked-off by a guy on his first gator hunt.
"It's the first one I've ever killed," Bockman said with a laugh.
Bockman doesn't know exactly what he will do with the gator yet but he's looking at tanning the hide or finding a buyer in Louisiana.