|Eli Baylis - The Vicksburg Post|
From left, brothers Dustin and Ryan Bockman and friend Cole Landers stand behind their record setting alligator that weighed in at 727 pounds.
The Vicksburg Post had a very nice writeup in the paper about the BIG story of the Vicksburg hunters who set the gator record last Sunday. It was all over the news, NBC, ABC, Facebook, etc., and my blogging/hunting friend, Jack of (Long Ridge Deer Camp), said it made it all the way to New Hampshire! Here is the complete story of the interview by Josh Edwards of our paper that I wanted to share with you today.
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Rascally old Elmer started stealing the show the minute the gun barrel exploded.
Elmer - all 727 pounds of him - was caught by brother Dustin and Ryan Bockman and their friend Cole Landers early Sunday in the Mississippi River near Port Gibson, breaking a state record that was set two hours earlier in Issaquena County.
"We chased it for about two hours before we got close enough to hit him with out bow fishing rig," said Dustin Bockman, who was gator hunting for the first time.
The gunshot that shredded the barrel of Ryan Bockman's shotgun wasn't the final blow for the 13-foot, 4.5-inch gator, but it swung the tide of an hours-long battle of man against nature.
"We had to stick the gun barrel in the water, and it peeled back like a banana peel," Dusting Brockman said.
Following the blast, the gun look like it belonged to Elmer Fudd after an ill-fated encounter with Bugs Bunny, which is how Elmer got his name, Dustin Bockman said.
The result and conditions were far from perfect for taking on a gator that was too big to be snared around the neck and had to be restrained by the snout, Landers said.
"After we snared him, both lines broke," said Landers, also a first time alligator hunter.
After two more blast from the mangled gun, the hunters thought Elmer was down for the count. But the behemoth had a few surprises left as they moved him onto a sand bar.
"I was on his back, and he got up and started moving," said Ryan Bockman, who had been alligator hunting only once before.
After some fierce hand-to-snout combat, the hunters killed Elmer with a machete and waited for help dragging the animal from the water.
"It was 17 hours from the time we put in our boat until we got him out," Ryan Brockman said.
The feat of bagging a state record alligator on one of their first hunts was amazing but not unbelievable for the group of hunters, said Reggie Bockman, Dustin and Ryan's mother.
"They could fall into a hole and find buried treasure," Reggie Bockman said. "The are that lucky."
After he was weighed at Mahannah Wildlife Management Area by Mississippi's alligator program coordinator, Ricky Flynt, Elmer unseated a gator caught earlier in the morning by Beth and Rob Trammell of Madison.
"We held the record for right at two hours," Bob Trammell said.
The couple, who was assisted by Sean King of Yazoo City, caught their gator about six miles east of the U. S. 61 bridge over the Yazoo River in Issaquena County.
The 13-foot, 5.5-inch long gator, weighed in at 723.5 pounds, shattering the previous weight record of 697.5 set last year.
"We knew we had a nice sized alligator, but we didn't know we had something that big," Trammell said.
Alligator hunting season began this past weekend and runs until Monday. Permits are dispersed through a random drawing and each permit holder and assisting hunter must take a class on hunting alligators.
The alligator is in a deep freeze at Dave's Custom Meats where I take my deer to be processed.