Texas Tussle, A Gator Hunt – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]
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Texas Tussle, A Gator Hunt – Texas Parks and Wildlife [Official]

November 18, 2019

{Sounds of swamp} {Music} [Narration]
This is the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area and its summer in the marsh.
This is one of the best places in Texas to hunt Alligator. {Splash} [Andrew Peters]
Alligators usually have a small area that theyíll use so you can kinda keep an eye
out and set your line where you actually see an alligator. [Narration]
Every September a hundred or so lucky Texans get drawn to hunt gators here. [Andrew Peters]
The J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management area is roughly twenty four thousand acres of wetland
habitat. {Airboat} [Andrew Peters]
If you donít know youíre way around the J.D. Murphree W.M.A. it can be difficult to
get around, everything at times kinda looks the same. And itís in a part of Texas that
a lot of people have not explored before. {Music} [Narration]
Thatís definitely the case for these three, meet Spencer Burke, Scott Moore, and Terri
Scull. [Terri Scull]
Ya he was just right here, looked like a seven footer probably. [Scott Moore]
The area that weíre hunting itís a vast bayou of swamps and marshes, with canals running
through. The adrenaline rush is way more than deer hunting or anything else, because youíre
after something that can actually get you. {Music}
Thereís one probably ten foot and two seven footers right up here, about one hundred and
fifty yards weíre going to try and put a set. {Music}
[Narration] Spencer has hunted gators before and is taking
Terri and Scott out for the first time. [Spencer Burke]
Come up here and try to sneak up on some alligators and see how big they are. [Terri Scull]
See if there are any slides or tracks. [Spencer Burke]
Got a run right here, so itís comin right up here [Scott Moore]
We do alligator hunting because itís something unique, itís different. [Spencer Burke]
Thereís one right there and a pretty good one too! There he is! [Scott Moore]
Weíre out in sort of a harsh environment with the swamps and mosquitos, alligators,
the snakes! Itís just something you canít do every day [Scott Moore]
I like this over here, [Spencer Burke]
It looks pretty good. {Gator swims off} [Narration]
Using a long cane pole. [Terri Scull]
Heís almost got it! [Narration]
The idea is to attach the bait to a roped hook and dangle it just above the water. [Scott Moore]
How high does that look, twenty four inches? [Spencer Burke]
No, no,no, no. Thatís too high, thatís way too high! [Spencer Burke]
If you put it too low to the water the small gators will knock it down or even turtles
can get to it. [Spencer Burke]
Thatís good! [Scott Moore]
Perfect! [Spencer Burke]
I think this spots good weíve got the wind direction that will carry the scent, down
the canal and weíve actually got a gator down there looking at us right now! [Scott Moore]
Mr. Alligator is down there waiting for us to leave so he can get snack time at three
oíclock. I like it, good job Terri! {Boat engine [Narration]
Deeper into the marsh, Spencer and Terri set up their poles. [Terri Scull]
I donít know kinda get excited! Never been gator hunting before, come out here and see
probably ten gators so far. Ya know you see em on TV, and see the alligator shows and
this is exactly what it looks like where theyíre travelling in and out of. {Music} [Spencer Burke]
Our bait is chicken thigh quarters. [Terri Scull]
Those smell savory! [Spencer Burke]
Itís savory thatís for sure! [Terri Scull]
Mmmmmm. [Spencer Burke]
And we let em sit out in the sun for a day or two, and they got quite ripe! [Terri Scull]
Up wind is better than downwind when you get those things out! {Water splashes}
[Spencer Burke] I like putting my bait about eighteen inches
above the water, hopefully you catch a bigger gator. [Terri Scull]
That smells terrible! [Spencer Burke]
I offered you all some of this stuff. [Terri Scull]
Man that is putrid looking man! {Music} [Terri Scull]
It stinks! [Spencer Burke]
Thatís gonna get one! [Terri Scull]
Ya! [Spencer Burke]
Hopefully weíve got em high enough where weíll get some big gators and weíll see
what we got when we go out there tomorrow. {Music fades} {Hurricane winds} [Narration]
In September of 2008, Hurricane Ike bore down on Texas, the hurricane not only wiped out
parts of Galveston and the upper Texas coast. {Airboat} [Narration]
About a hundred miles to the east, a storm surge hit J.D. Murphree with a wave of salt
water. [Amos Cooper]
It was real eerie, the day after Ike, ya know you go out there was no birds, there was no
frogs nothing, it was just complete silence it was kinda nerve-racking. It killed alligators
for months after Ike landed and it just devastated the landscape. {Airboat} [Narration]
But over time J.D. Murphree has recovered. Now this coastal marsh is back.
Prime habitat for not just alligators, but for wading birds, and wintering waterfowl. {Airboat} [Narration]
Biologists gauge the gator population by checking nest success {Cattails crackle} [Andrew Peters]
The nest is over here and it looks like thereís a few gathered up over here, usually they
stay by the nest for quite a while. {Chirps from gator babies} [Andrew Peters]
These guys are days even hourís old, little bittie guys! Hard to imagine this guy getting
ten feet long. [Amos Cooper]
Hah, theyíre going right through my net! {Laughter} [Amos Cooper]
This year is the first year since Ike that things kinda got back to normal, we had more
nesting than we had in probably eight years this year. So thatís a good sign for us. {Cattails crackle} [Andrew Peters]
Itís really neat to see em, not only just to be able to see all these baby alligators
and be here just moments after theyíve hatched. But just to see our numbers rebound, shows
that we do have huntable numbers and we have a population that can support a hunt! {Music} [Scott Moore]
Itís almost like Christmas morning being a little kid waitin for Santa Claus to come! [Terri Scull]
You ready! [Scott Moore]
Weíre all pumped up and ready to go see what we got! [Terri Scull]
Wooooooooh! {Cattails crackle] [Spencer Burke]
I had trouble sleepin last night I was so excited about checking the lines, I think
weíre going to have some gators on this morning! [Scott Moore]
Hey we got one guys! [Spencer Burke]
We got one? [Scott Moore]
Yep! [Spencer Burke]
Oh, he pulled all the line too! [Scott Moore]
Here we go! Heís not wanting to come now! Here we go! What you think heís seven foot? [Spencer Burke]
Heís over seven foot! [Scott Moore]
Oh, youíre just anticipating, you donít know really whatís on there, and heís pulling
against you and youíre fighting against, and all of a sudden he shows up andÖ {Splashing} [Scott Moore]
Oh thatís a good, oh yeah! [Scott Moore]
And then itís on then! He sees you and you see him! {Splashing} [Scott Moore]
I am amped up! Adrenalines pumping. All right Spencer, whenever you get ready! {Gun blast} [Scott Moore]
Santa Clause was good! {Tape} [Terri Scull]
Looks good, no line left! [Narration]
In the end it was a successful morning as all three had a gator on the line. [Terri Scull]
Alligator hunting is just not like anything else Iíve ever done. [Spencer Burke]
Hold on tight Terri! [Terri Scull]
You know thereís one on the line and you start pulling him in I donít know you get
anxious you get excited, you get nervous. {Music} [Terri Scull]
Heís not happy! [Spencer Burke]
You donít know if youíre going to catch an alligator until you pull it up and you
really donít know how big itís gonna be! [Terri Scull]
Thatís a big one! [Spencer Burke]
His tail is on the bottom I can feel his tail kick in off the bottom. [Spencer Burke]
We weíre quite surprised today weíve got a good eight and half footer and seven and
a half footer and probably a six and a half footer. [Chase Fountain]
Smile, smile, smile, one, two, three! [Terri Scull]
This is a great experience! If you like to hunt and fish, or even if ya
know youíre just interested in something thatís completely different than maybe anything
youíve ever done. I would recommend it for sure for anybody that hadnít done it. {Music fades}

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  1. It never ceases to amaze me how this is legal, but it's illegal to move a snake (Or any amphibian or reptile) off a rural country road, photograph it, and then let it go on its way. I'm not saying I want to outlaw gator hunting, but rather get road cruising legalized again. It never should of been outlawed in the first place. 

  2. It's good to see these guys care about conservation as much as the hunt, but I am curious, what happens to the caught alligators?

  3. I grew up 5 minutes from the J.D. Murphree wildlife management area. I fished and hunted in these exact waters at times every day for most of the year when I live in Port Acres, Texas!!! I miss the area, the fishing and hunting but I do NOT miss the mosquitos!!!!

  4. those are little gators, private property has much bigger critters than those and the state issues you tags if you have enough gators to support harvest . we caught one on our lake that was 12-2 and several over 11 feet. females dont get much bigger than 8 feet. they dont live long enough on refuges to get big.

  5. I don't agree with hunting gators, but only if the population is increasing, but in texas they aren't as common like in florida yet in florida they rather relocate them. My opinion is that they shouldn't hunt them in Texas.

  6. How do you anchor a Gator line in the marsh when there are no trees to tie too?
    I know I use Earth anchors for Beaver Snares and it holds Beaver good. But I would think a Gator has a lot more pull than a Beaver.

  7. Baiting is trapping not hunting. The gator catches himself. Were not aloud to use bait and I like it that way. We hunt, we hook and have to put a flotation device before dispatch. No rifles, handgun, bangstick or my favorite, assault knife.

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