May 15, 2013 1:47 PM by Ben Lloyd - firstname.lastname@example.org (Photos: Texas Parks and Wildlife)
THREE RIVERS - Texas Parks and Wildlife says an 18-year-old hunter from the Houston area bagged a state record 14-foot, 3-inch long alligator weighing 800 pounds last week during a sanctioned hunt at the Choke Canyon Reservoir.
Braxton Bielski went out on the hunt with his father after being granted one of the 10 alligator permits issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Troy Bielski, a Houston police officer, says hunting an alligator was a dream for his son. "We got selected one year to go on a youth hunt at the J.D. Murphree WMA, but I didn't get the permit in on time. I remember Brax was very disappointed. This is the first year we've had to enter him as an adult and we got drawn."
Texas Parks and Wildlife says most hunters selected are first timers who more than likely have never seen an alligator in the wild. For that reason, participants are given a thorough orientation by biologists about what to expect and how to go about the hunt.
The father and son set bait lines then returned the next morning to find they had hooked two alligators. Once hooked, hunters must use a rifle to kill the gators.
The father's catch was a nice 10.5 foot long beast that was dwarfed by his son's catch. Officials believe the 14-foot alligator is between 30-50 years old.
It's not unusual to find large alligators in the Choke Canyon Reservoir. However, it is not legal to just go out to Choke Canyon to hunt an alligator.
There are special provisions on hunting the species that depend on which area of the state you're visiting.
More information about TPWD's public hunting program and the application process for special drawing hunts is available online at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/hunt/public/
More info on Alligator Hunting Regulations in Texas, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/regulations/fish_hunt/hunt/alligator/
All photos courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife