... Catching lizards has now grown into wrestling alligators & pythons. Satisfaction guaranteed – Highly rated experienced No better way to see the Lake – Come see why we have been the top destination for over 3 decades. More gators, Clanton said, but smaller. Bryan has a deep knowledge of Florida's native and invasive wildlife. October 10, 2017. Since market prices for reptile products are low, few hunters expect to make enough to cover costs of their hunts. … "There's a lot of excitement trying to get something that big. Florida's southernmost alligators are too skinny and Lake Okeechobee is choking on sediment, but natural springs long dry are bubbling again because of ecosystem repairs highlighted in a … At least, this is based on a census done in 2006. Comments. The boys will be the spotlight holders, Dennis said. I think everybody will be out there.". He loves it & enjoys passing that passion on to his children. Deer don't have as many teeth and they aren't big and nasty.". All rights reserved. "It gets interesting when you get them to the boat.". Fishing guides and resorts help out with that goal. Lake Okeechobee Ruben and Devin took a trip up to Lake Okeechobee, no pythons but plenty of native red rat snakes. Alligators generally stay away from people except for the always silly people who repeatedly feed them in the same spot and then wonder why they come back and don't feed them and the gators try to get too close. The lake is teeming with all sorts of wildlife from alligators to wading birds there are so many photo opportunities. He said he has 16 hunts booked so far this season beginning with Stormwater Treatment Area 1 on the first night of the season. Thirty-two alligators were killed and left to rot on the shore of Lake Okeechobee in what may have been an effort for revenge against a game officer, wildlife officials said today. Lee Lightsey (owner of Outwest Farms) and guide Blake Godwin spotted this herculean dinosaur while hunting on their farm last Saturday and Lightsey took the shot from 20-feet-away, believing that this alligator was responsible for eating livestock from his farm. When the blood was tested and compared the results from the Lake Okeechobee alligators were very similar to the results they obtained from Lake Apopka. Dave Berard of Stuart said this year was a bit of challenge to get permits to hunt alligators. {GRAPHIC} Alligator Hunting on Lake Okeechobee! By the way, Godwin said the photos of the monster gator were taken with their cell phones and uploaded directly to Facebook and weren’t photoshopped. We determined that he was in fact attacking our livestock as they came to drink,” Godwin said. Blue gills, Okeechobee catfish and black crappies are other local catches. I've been doing it for a long time," Smith said. Jim Howard of Cooper City tells WPLG he spotted the … "It's a thrill knowing you're dealing with an animal that you are kind of at its mercy," he said. "I just like getting out and being out on the lake," said Berard. Gatorama is an iconic Florida roadside attraction that has been drawing gator-curious tourists since 1957. Take the time, step out from behind the vehicle window and see some of the alligators and sawgrass marshes found along Alligator Alley. Willie Dennis has been eyeing his calendar ever since mid-May. More:Coronavirus won’t keep gator hunters from coming to Florida, "During daylight, everything is calmed down and acting normal," Smith said. Two other areas known for having large gators are Lake Okeechobee (467,000 acres) and the three-lake region of the St. Johns River marsh in western Brevard County — Lake Hell N' Blazes, Lake Poinsett and Puzzle Lake (5,900 acres combined). To learn more about Florida's alligator hunt, go to MyFWC.com/alligator. There are approximately 190,000 metric tons of phosphorus in the soil in the Kissimmee River basin. Each permit comes with two tags enabling the permit holder to harvest two alligators per permit. … Most of the rest of the hunts will take place on Lake Okeechobee, he said. Alligators are predominant in Lake Okeechobee and … "I'd rather hunt out on the lake. Many days the action is fast and furious, almost impossible to keep up with. Video of the incident shows an alligator … We went out both evening and early morning and saw a large alligator, a huge copperhead snake and a variety of birds including cranes, a spoonbill, limpkins, swamp hens, sanderlings, hawks & kites. A kayaker in North Carolina got a heart-stopping surprise Sunday when an alligator rammed him and knocked him into the river. Florida resident here and alligator hunger and live within 45 minutes of okeechobee. View and learn about Lake Okeechobee and the animals (Alligators!) Take note that this does not even include the whole lake. At over 730 square miles (1880 square km), Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake entirely within the Lower 48 states (second only to Lake Michigan). He graduated from Florida State University, has been to more Phish concerts than he’d like to admit, and primarily specializes in Outdoors and Gear-related content. "I like taking people on their hunts. Contiguous with the Kissimmee Lake and River IBA to the north and the Fisheating Creek Watershed IBA to the west, and near the Loxahatchee River and Slough IBA to the east. The largest alligator harvested measured 13 feet, 5 inches and was taken in Hillsborough County. Alligators live in large public waterways such as Lake Okeechobee and Kissimmee River, or dairy reservoirs and small watering holes on ranches where they wait to take down livestock.Seminole Prairie Safaris has access to thousands of acres of private land to hunt gators on year-round. As for this season, Smith thinks it is going to be a good year. Since each allows for the harvest of two alligators, more than 15,000 could be taken. Florida is home to thousands of alligators, and Okeechobee is the ideal location for a gator hunt. Alligator biologists estimate there are more than 2 million living in the wild in Florida. Dennis said he will hunt with friend Jeff Ward. News Alligator hunting: For 2 … In 2019, Lake Okeechobee yielded 654 alligators and the St. Johns lakes yielded 638. After seeing these pics I can’t help but think it’s time for me to take the two hour drive on down to Lake Okeechobee. 12 1/2 feet long. With an estimated population of 12,925 gators, Jesup ranks second to mammoth Lake Okeechobee (28,106) for … Survival: About 1/3 of alligator nests are destroyed by predators (mainly raccoons) or flooding. The pier is a nice viewing point to see the lake and a few gators. Stretched end to end, the alligators would have measured over 1 mile. "I enjoy the thrill of being out there," he said. Last year, some of the interesting statistics showed: Hunters typically take their alligators to processors, who return the meat, the hide and even the skull if the hunter wishes to make a mount of it. “I like it, it’s kind of like a cross between chicken and pork. Facebook Twitter. that call the lake home. Alligator. Hunting the STA requires driving the rock road levees instead of being in a boat. Lake Okeechobee (US: / oʊ k i ˈ tʃ oʊ b i /), also known as Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. ... Lower water levels should make alligator hunting at Lake Okeechobee … We try not to harvest anything under 10 feet in length. There are many different duck hunting locations in Okeechobee, and you can choose from a wide selection of duck hunting methods. There’s also a Private Lands Alligator Harvest Program with similar reporting requirements, except that participants also must verify alligator habitat and population data using certified wildlife biologists. The fishing is great but thats not all clients enjoy. They plan to donate the gator’s meat to charity and have the alligator taxidermied for display at their hunting shows and expos. Become a valued customer by subscribing to TCPalm. Alligators reside in all 67 counties in Florida and throughout the southeastern U.S. from Texas to North Carolina. It is only is a small section of the Lake Okeechobee. In 2019, Lake Okeechobee yielded 654 alligators and the St. Johns lakes yielded 638. He said they have seen some big ones. “We also discovered the remains what we determined to be cattle in the water. If you’re interested in setting up a guided hunting tour from Outwest Farms you can CLICK HERE to head on over to their Facebook page for more information. Ed Killer is TCPalm's outdoors writer. The largest alligator they had taken before was just over 14 feet and this one was bigger than that, Godwin said. Water levels aren’t way down or too high," Smith said. LAKE OKEECHOBEE — An airline pilot and two friends captured an alligator nearly 12-feet (3.6-meters) long on Florida's Lake Okeechobee. Then there’s the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park where brave souls can zip line over alligators and crocodiles, and Gatorama in Palmdale, east of Lake Okeechobee. The company has been guiding hunts for alligators, wild boar, and turkey in Florida for 18 years and Lightsey says on his website he’s been hunting all his life. Thousands of feet of alligators are harvested each year in a 50-square-mile area that includes: In 2019, those hunting units produced 705 harvested alligators averaging just under 9 feet in length. Berard and four other friends who like to hunt together each fall submitted applications via the FWC system in May, but only one came away with a permit. This was a legal hunt during alligator hunting season w/ proper permits & tags. "October and November, in my opinion, are the best months for everything, whether you're hunting or fishing.". Smith also prefers hunting during daylight hours and does his best week later in the season, when the temperatures cool a tiny bit. © 2021 www.tcpalm.com. The Vero Beach resident will be part of the 2020 Florida Alligator Hunt for the first time in about 10 years, he said. To interact with Ed, friend him on Facebook at Ed Killer, follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or email him at ed.killer@tcpalm.com. Theoretically, this phosphorus could be draining into the lake for the next 400 years. Fishing on Lake Okeechobee is a unique experience. We visited Lake Okeechobee while in Okeechobee FL the lake is 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. Berard hopes they can harvest a pair of 11-footers as they did in the same day in 2018. Ed Killer is TCPalm's outdoors writer. Jim Howard of Cooper City tells WPLG he spotted the … That shouldn't be a worry of anyone. The last five years, the hunt produced: This year, FWC sold over 7,500 permits. Posted by B-Russ at 6:44 PM. What road is … LAKE OKEECHOBEE — An airline pilot and two friends captured an alligator nearly 12-feet (3.6-meters) long on Florida's Lake Okeechobee. The Glades County area near Lake Okeechobee where Langdale was swimming is known to have several large alligators in it, Pino said. Last weekend an 800+ pound, 15-foot-long alligator was captured from Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. 131 alligators greater than 12 feet in length were harvested in Florida. Hunting alligators is unlike hunting other targets like ducks, dove, hogs or deer, Berard said. Copyright © 2008-2021 BroBible. Clewiston, on the 750 square-mile lake's southern shore, has the most to offer vacationers, especially those intent on hooking into the lake's legendary largemouth bass and speckled perch. The pair then had to use Lightsey’s farm tractor to pull the 800+ pound alligator out of the water, after doing so they snapped this crazy AF photo, and for what it’s worth the state record in Florida for ‘length’ is 14-feet, 3.5-inches in length. An airline pilot and two friends captured an alligator nearly 12-feet (3.6-meters) long on Florida's Lake Okeechobee. 10 alligators greater than 13 feet in length were harvested. Closer to West Palm Beach, biologists spotted 502 alligators, 76 of which were bull gators, in the southern part of Lake Okeechobee in 2015. The largest alligator harvested in Lake Okeechobee measured 12 feet, 10 inches. They believe the gator had been feasting on the farm’s cattle. His largest alligator last year — 12 feet, 3 inches — was caught on the last day of the season. This big alligator was killed in Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Goodwin Wildlife Management Area's Broadmoor and Godwin units. They spotted the gator Saturday as it surfaced about 20 feet in front of them and Lightsey shot it, Godwin said. Dennis, Ward and their sons, ages 8 and 7, will hunt from Dennis' Pathfinder flats boat on Blue Cypress Lake in western Indian River County. “This was a great idea. According to the article published on NBCNews.com, two airboats were able to count 754 alligators in only 3 hours. The northwestern waters of Indian River County and southwestern waters of Brevard County are one of the state's most productive for large alligators harvested during the 10-week hunt period. More:Florida alligator meat, skin values vary as farm-raised market grows for fashion houses. So if these guys took the proper measurements they might have a new Florida state record on their hands: Lee Lightsey, the owner of Outwest Farms in Okeechobee, and hunting guide, Blake Godwin, discovered the monster alligator in one their cattle ponds while on a guided hunt on April 2. Live alligators were there for photo ops, too. At Okeechobee own itself there is a pier which is a great viewing spot. Some of Berard's hunting partners have been out fishing on the northern quadrant of Lake Okeechobee, where their alligator hunting tags are. The pier is a nice viewing point to see the lake and a few gators. "There's going to be an abundance of alligators out there." With all that’s been going on, it’s nice to see something new and different,” said Sarah Brennan, a local resident who had never tried alligator before attending Gator Fest. 12-FOOT ALLIGATOR CAUGHT FIRST DAY OF HUNTING SEASON Jim … “It is hard to believe that something this big exists in the wild,” Godwin said. 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Lee Lightsey (owner of Outwest Farms) and guide Blake Godwin spotted this herculean dinosaur while hunting on their farm last Saturday and Lightsey took the shot from 20-feet-away, believing that this alligator was responsible for eating livestock from his farm. 481 . I could eat it again. "I think it will be a normal year. Along the Alligator Alley, you may see wading birds in flight and at rest, and yes, alligators are along the canal banks adjacent to the highway. Male alligators 7 feet or longer, and females 6 feet or longer, most likely are sexually mature, and mating occurs in May and June. "I do think it will be busy, like fishing has been busy. ", More:'Naked and Afraid' couple join 2019 Florida alligator hunt. Only 10 alligator hatchlings will live to one year. Become a valued customer by, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida alligator meat, skin values vary as farm-raised market grows for fashion houses, 'Naked and Afraid' couple join 2019 Florida alligator hunt, Coronavirus won’t keep gator hunters from coming to Florida, Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy, T.M. The average clutch size of an alligator nest is 38. A lot of plant life in the water around the shores that extended pretty far out into the lake where we were At by the pier. So they'll plan to be hunting during the second of the season's four week-long phases. In Florida each hunting season, hunters harvest about 60-80% of what they are permitted to take. "If you make a wrong move, you go from hunter to hunted. The final six weeks of the hunt — from Sept. 12 through Nov. 1 — are considered a make-up period for any hunters who were unable to fill tags during their designated week. I'm not too crazy about STA hunts.". Last weekend an 800+ pound, 15-foot-long alligator was captured from Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. A lot of plant life in the water around the shores that extended pretty far out into the lake where we were At by the pier. It’s been a few years since I last got over to ‘Florida’s Inland Sea’, the largest lake in the state of Florida. The team goes gator hunting on Lake Okeechobee looking for giant gators. "The bigger ones are more coy." "Lake Okeechobee has the most alligators, due to its size and availability of suitable habitat," an FWC spokesperson said. Cass Anderson is Managing Editor of BroBible. In fact, this is the lake with the most concentration of alligators. At Stick Marsh, 20 of its 54 total alligators harvested, 37%, were greater than 11 feet in length. We visited Lake Okeechobee while in Okeechobee FL the lake is 40 miles long and 30 miles wide. Alligator last year — 12 feet in length an 800+ pound, 15-foot-long alligator was captured Florida. 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S cattle days the action is fast and furious, almost impossible to keep up.! For us and we are very proud of it! ” he said '' said! Near Lake Okeechobee — an airline pilot and two friends captured an alligator nest is 38 point to the. Estimated 24 live hatchlings will emerge greater than 12 feet in length harvested! 'S a lot of excitement trying to get permits to hunt alligators alligator 12-feet. The pier is a way of life for us and we are very proud of it ”! Something this big exists in the same day in 2018 catfish and black are! Inches — was caught on the last day of the hunts will place... It & enjoys passing that passion on to his children the rest of season! A wrong move, you go from hunter to hunted spotlight holders, Dennis said, is! Reside in all 67 counties in Florida had been feasting on the last of. Will be part of the Lake for the harvest of two alligators and. '' Smith said behind the vehicle window and see some of the rest of the alligators would have over. About Florida 's Lake Okeechobee, and you can choose from a wide selection of duck hunting locations in FL..., 10 inches 60-80 % of what they are permitted to take grown! Will live to one year hunting shows and expos reside in all 67 counties in Florida throughout!