Massive 12-Foot Alligator Killed on South Florida Cattle Ranch
“A gator this size can easily eat a calf or even a cow”
On April 4, a team of alligator hunters killed a massive American alligator on a cattle ranch in South Florida. The 12-foot, 2-inch gator was deemed a threat to livestock in the area, and the team located it by flying a drone over the ranch. Their hunt was highlighted in a recent Facebook post on the Martin County Trapping and Wildlife page, which is headed by Mike Kimmel—better known as the “Python Cowboy.”
“We knew this gator could end up being a big problem if not dealt with immediately,” Kimmel wrote in the Facebook post. “A gator this size can easily eat a calf or even a cow, working cow dogs are also a big concern.”
A licensed alligator trapper, Kimmel was contacted by a local rancher in the county who wanted the large gator removed. He got a management tag from the state, which are typically given out when an alligator is too big or dangerous to be relocated safely. Once they reach a certain size, Kimmel explained, large male gators can affect more than just cattle operations.
“These big bull gators will try to dominate the area and kill all other male gators, which becomes a problem as well.”
Kimmel and two other hunters located the alligator last week after someone flew a drone over the Martin County ranch. Drone photos show the massive gator laid up in a secluded creek on the property.
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Kimmel did not release many details about the hunt itself but said in a previous post that he planned on filming the hunt for YouTube. Photos from after the hunt show that the gator was shot with an AR-style rifle.
The longtime trapper, who also hunts pythons and iguanas in South Florida, estimated the gator’s age around 15 to 20 years old. He said he already has plans for the alligator meat and will be using the skin to make leather products.
“Not all gators can reach this size. A combination of genetics, opportunities, and diet attribute to a gator being this size,” Kimmel said. “He’s lived a good life in the wild, but now it’s his time to be removed from the land and be utilized for the greater good! Nothing better than having the hunt of a lifetime, all in the name of Florida conservation!”