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Friday, May 17, 2024
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Grumpy Gators

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I hope that when any of you are near a body of water, that you use good sense and watch out for the gators. And it doesn’t have to be an especially large body of water either, sometimes it feels like there is a gator in every mud hole you try to pass. Fact is, the whole state is crawling with them and despite the state’s efforts to curb the population, I have my doubts about the efficiency and effectiveness of their programs.

One reason is that the gators are teetering on the verge of overpopulation and getting a little grumpy with our intrusion into their aquatic domain. You see, since the state of Florida actually began keeping track of the numbers of human attacks by alligators in 1948, by the end of 2021, there had been 442 attacks. That averages out to six a year, or once every other month for the last 73 years. So, it’s really surprising to me that in 2022, there have already been 18 attacks, averaging one every two weeks!

Now, I get it. Many of the so-called attacks weren’t really the gator’s fault as the over consumption of alcohol was highlighted in many of the instances; play stupid games, win stupid prizes, right? Many more would have certainly been avoided with a bit of common sense. For example, the most recent case I’m aware of is a guy in Hillsborough County that went for a swim after being warned of a big gator patrolling the area. He swam out, the alligator felt a little threatened at having this gentleman entering his territory and swam over and chomped him on the head. I’m happy that the fellow survived the attack, but I bet next time he’ll heed the warnings.

Coincidentally, alligator season recently opened, but our Florida Wildlife Commission has such restrictions on the harvest that few permits are being allocated for sport hunters. For instance, in all of Hernando County, only 8 permits were available for public drawing. Not even a drop in the bucket. Sure, the state hires year-long trappers to remove nuisance or threatening gators, at a cost of the state for $35.00 per gator; that really adds up. In my opinion it would be better to increase the number of sporting permits to allow the public to significantly impact the population, while paying the state for the privilege.

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But, the state would rather spend money than make money and personally, if they’re so wealthy as to comfortably continue with that mindset, I’d like a refund on my hunting license, because clearly, they’re not hurting for it.

Folks, I’ll be back in South Florida next Thursday to hunt deer for a couple of days in Zone A with a couple of retired vets. I expect it’s going to be some fun times and I can’t wait to tell you all about it. My friends, I surely thank you for all of your input and as always, if you have any feedback, give me a shout at [email protected]. God Bless and Good Hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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