View Full Version : Which Caliber for Gator?
October 29, 2009, 08:38 PM
My National Geographic came the other day and it had short piece in it about gator hunting. I have never hunted gators in my life but it got me to thinking about it. The picture (blurry) showed what looked like a long barrel Ruger Blackhawk shooting the gator in the head at close range after drawing him to the boat.
Anyway I was wondering what you guys that hunt gator use and why. Also if anyone else read the piece and can identify the revolver I was wondering about that also.
October 29, 2009, 09:07 PM
A shoulder fired rocket launcher. If I were forced to use a handgun. One that would take three hands to hold!
October 29, 2009, 09:38 PM
Use a big knife and a whole lot of balls!
October 29, 2009, 10:20 PM
Which caliber for gator.. Sounds like a trick question.. Thats something I would not hunt myself. But I would go with a 12ga slugs or buck shot. And hope for the best. To many teeth for me to be hunting. And whats the bait???
October 29, 2009, 11:14 PM
Actually this is not really a firearm (as most of you know it). We use 'bangsticks', it's a chamber on the end of a pole. I like 12 ga.
For bait we usually use past due chickens that are available at your local grocery store. Leave them in the sun and they turn pretty quickly and gators love them.
A gators brain is small, towards the back of the head and V shaped. It's also a very primitive animal. If you don't know what you're doing, you can be severely injured.
The sport is not for lightweights which is why I now just run the boat.
October 29, 2009, 11:44 PM
Are you using a spear fisherman's hand spear with power head or something improvised
October 30, 2009, 12:36 AM
Years ago I was a machineist/ engineer developing powerheads for commercial fisheries. Yep, most of what you see on TV is bogus, those guys don't take many chances on losing $1K fish.
Daggit, everything is different underwater. Yes, the original BangStick was just a pole with a chamber at the end. Way back they tried the 30-06, .303, .357 and some weird stuff like a .38 with a .44 case over the round.
Later they were attached to the spears of "addict guns". These were popular in the 70's. Custom built guns powered by CO2. Shark hunting was at it's peak here from '67 to '72. Everybody wanted a sharktooth necklace. I helped and used 12 Ga.
Today powerheads are mostly used by commercial divers for food purposes. I don't know what they use anymore. A .357 shold devastate most food fish and shock many more around it.
October 30, 2009, 03:02 AM
The short answer: Bangstick, with a .357 being more than sufficent.
The long answer:
The head of a gator is hard, small brain and lots of bone. What you have heard about bullets bouncing off of them is true to a extent on the really big ones.
I have on more than a couple of occasions set the bangstick off to far forward with the result that the bullet simply bounces off the skull. As stated before you want to hit them right at the base of the skull where it joins the spine not actually in the head.
We use reloads most of the time with a 180 grain rifle bullet like would be used in a .35 Remington. ( Yes I know the standard is a 200 grain in the .35 but you can get 180s.) The reason is that it will not expand and the shape of it allows it to penetrate better. This is not a issue on smaller ones but when you get up to the 10 foot and over ones there can be some meat to pass through before it hits the spine.
In addition to the obvious safety concern generated by the fact that a bullet can bounce off a gator skull there is a Florida regulation that prohibits the use of pistols and the like to dispatch gators. Other states may be different.
As for bait. We do not use it. For a lot of reasons which I can go into if you are really interested...........
October 30, 2009, 04:59 AM
Oh come on guys. Gators aren't that bad. IF I were to ever hunt gators;), it would be with a bowfishing rig and a .22 LR. It would be sporting, challenging, and a helluva rush. No need for some gigantic cartridge to destroy that good meat and hide. 9mm would do just fine too;)
October 30, 2009, 07:08 AM
An old Cajun trapped gators on our Duck Lease in the LA marsh in a high sided "mud boat". They were trapped with a hook embedded in a chicken thigh attached to a 14' cane pole. He use his old 22 rifle because he wanted no damage to the hide. He was shooting straight down at about 10 feet.
October 30, 2009, 07:24 AM
In addition to the obvious safety concern generated by the fact that a bullet can bounce off a gator skull there is a Florida regulation that prohibits the use of pistols and the like to dispatch gators.
The photo in NG was taken in LA. I don't know what the rules are there but I can see the concern. That would have to be a pretty thick skull for a .44 mag round to bounce off of though.
Ok so this is bang stick? I think I have seen them used for humane livestock dispatch.
October 30, 2009, 07:49 AM
Growing up, we always used a .357 bang stick
October 31, 2009, 07:31 PM
9x19mm FMJ or 100gr Soft point (S&B or Hirtenberger FL).
October 31, 2009, 07:57 PM
I'd use FMJ if you're going to use a pistol round. In TX you can shoot them using pistols--catch them with hooks, pull them in close and shoot them in the brain.
November 1, 2009, 03:52 PM
The Minske-Laarson 409 Harpoon Gun gets the job done.
November 1, 2009, 04:00 PM
Oh come on guys. Gators aren't that bad. IF I were to ever hunt gators, it would be with a bowfishing rig and a .22 LR.
if you really want a challenge, jump in the water with a knife. fair fight that way.:D
November 1, 2009, 04:09 PM
if you really want a challenge, jump in the water with a knife. fair fight that way
Fair fight is to bail off into the water with just yer wits and swim trunks and wrestle the mucker to shore where the roll of tape awaits...:eek: That is how I do it ever since losing my knife...:cool:
November 1, 2009, 04:16 PM
Mtt tl many a gator has meet its death to a good oll 22 rifle and don't ask how i know this. Use a top water plug and just tease or pull them right up to the boat or maybe 10 feet then shoot them.The brain is small for sure but the impact even if not died can stun them enough to grab the nose/mouth and cut the neck/ spinal cord right at the bend in the neck when bent over a boats side.
November 2, 2009, 03:06 PM
An older guy (34) that worked for my dad was the one that started haul'n me to the woods when young(13) I do remember him and one more gator getter use to try to bait or wait out a gator to shoot it but would also flip a coin to see who would go down and place a rope loop over the gators head and then pull it up. They would swim right into the gator cave with it. They still have all there fingers too.
November 2, 2009, 09:01 PM
bang sticks where I live come in two flavors - 357 and 44 mag - either will work properly when placed appropriately
November 2, 2009, 09:16 PM
Disclaimer - I've never hunted (or even seen) a gator... But if I were going gator huntin' and didn't have an experienced lizard hunter to go with I'd take the same thing I like for Halibut... bangstick - only a bigger one ;).
November 3, 2009, 11:33 AM
you really want a challenge, jump in the water with a knife. fair fight that way.
Have. Bailed out of the boat onto a 7 footer. we were in about 2-3 feet of water so I had my footing. Didn't kill it though. Had my buddy jerk me back up in the boat just as I let go. Don't know why, just wanted to feel the power. Dangerous...very, but had been planning it for some time. It swam off in a hurry.
November 3, 2009, 12:45 PM
Back before it was legal, I have it on good authority that the .22 lr was commonly used to dispatch an alligator on a bush hook. The .22 was less likely to attract the law and plenty at close range to the brain. Or so I hear...
November 4, 2009, 01:09 PM
I have friends here in SC that have killed them with a variety of pistol cartridges including 40S&W, 45ACP, 357 and 44 mag. Everyone here uses pistols during the season just for ease of use and space. I've been on a couple hunts where gators were dispatched and the caliber doesn't seem to be as important as shot placement! Also, a sharpened bush axe is the great equalizer...always always always sever the spinal cord. I've seen numerous videos and heard a number of stories about "dead" gators coming back to life!!
Not something you want in the boat with you!!!
November 4, 2009, 02:44 PM
Disclaimer - I've never hunted (or even seen) a gator... But if I were going gator huntin' and didn't have an experienced lizard hunter to go with I'd take the same thing I like for Halibut... bangstick - only a bigger one .
You must go for those big halibuts. I've heard more than one story about a boat being wreaked by a 400+ pound halibut.
The 40 pound ones we pull out of Puget Sound are big enough for me.
November 4, 2009, 05:51 PM
For halibut I use my 10mm... 155gr LRN over 9.3gr of Power Pistol does the job well enough on the "little" 150 pounders up here...
November 5, 2009, 07:46 AM
I never did like the idea of wrestling a big fish (or gator... to stay on topic;)) into the boat with a semi-auto pistol in my or my friends hand. I feel that the bang stick or single shot rifle/shotgun is the safest. To each his own though.
November 5, 2009, 10:02 AM
The gators are restrained next to the boat via tail and head ropes and typical using a choke rod similar to what animal control uses. At no point in time is an unrestrained gator "wrestled" into the boat. Regulations state that the gator must be subdued before being dispatched.
November 5, 2009, 12:09 PM
Big Butts are usually shot before hauling them in too. But it's still a wrestling match to get them in and they can "come back to life" if the brain was missed. I was just sayin' I don't like the idea of a semi auto gun for this type of thing. Too much going on, a short muzzle that is harder to keep pointed away from others (or the boat) and a loaded chamber all during the excitement of taking a large animal than can seriously injure you.
The guy I've been going with uses a 38 special bangstick. When I get my own Butt boat I'll prolly get one of these http://www.galleryofguns.com/genie/default.aspx?item=sb1%2D41n
It can dispatch big fish and be a stuck on some remote beach survival tool.
November 5, 2009, 12:57 PM
As stated in my previous post the great equalizer is the old sharpened bush axe. We've never brought one into the boat that didnt have his spine severed...those WON'T come back to life ever!
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