The first weekend of Mississippi’s alligator hunting season produced quite a specimen– what state experts are calling a “world class” gator which may have been 75 to 100 years old. The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks says two Madison men– Jim Denson and Richie Denson– harvested the female gator which was ten feet and two inches long on the Pearl River north of the Barnett Reservoir. It breaks the state record and ties the former world record which was broken in Florida last year for the longest free-ranging wild female alligator.
Interestingly, MDWFP had caught and tagged this gator as part of a research project in 2009. And Alligator Program Coordinator Ricky Flynt says they were surprised to find that the animal was still the same length as it was then and was in the same part of the Pearl River as before. The department plans to do an analysis of a leg bone to determine the gator’s age. “You can actually count growth rings in that bone much like you count the growth rings in a tree,” Flynt says. He believes it’s possible the gator is older than 100.