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Old August 16, 2012, 08:18 PM   #1
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Old Guys, thunderstorm and a gator........

Old Guys, thunderstorms and gators...............

God looks out for the least last night he did.

Hardly a hour into the opening day of gator season found us COWERING, and when I say COWERING I mean COWERING!, under a pitiful excuse for a dock, simply hoping to avoid getting hit by lightning.

The wind was blowing the rain so hard, and the dock was so small and shoddy, that we'd never even entertained the idea that we'd stay dry under it but as it was the only dock in vicinity we did hold out hope that it would at least provide some protection from the lightening.

About 20 minutes into the worst part of the storm even that hope of not getting struck by lightening almost evaporated as a bolt hit a cypress tree next to the dock walkway, not 25 yards form the boat, sending a large limb crashing down through the walkway.

Darn thing hit so close that what we experienced was a click, flash, boom! almost as one event.....and then the smell of it.

After about 45 minutes we decided that the worst part had passed, even though it was still raining a bit, so we run back up the lake......away from the storm!, towards the ramp.

That's one part of being figure to get in a few good hours and then go recharge. And as we were soaked, frustrated, had ringing ears, and sense we could see more storms coming from the west it just made good sense to work back towards the ramp intending to put the boat on the trailer at about dark.

And then Yul spotted this guy up along the bank. Neither Skip nor I could see it but Yul insisted it was there and as you can see he was right.

Not very long, 10' 10".......but look how FAT that pig is. Based on the weight of the constispendt parts ( I spent the afternoon cleaning him. ) I'd say 500-550 is a reasonable guess.

In fact the jowls, the muscles that close/hold the jaw closed, weighed 19#.....that is 19# pounds of muscle dedicated to one task, slamming that mouth shut.

And for reference, those are 6 foot by 30 inch tables........note how far his legs hang over the sides!! And Richard, the guy working on him is almost 200#.......
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Old August 16, 2012, 08:43 PM   #2
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Gonna be some fine eatin' nuggets!!!

What a fat set of jowls!!! Not one you want to have to pull free from for sure...

Did ya'll feel even a "poke" from the juice of lightning?

I been poked twice but luckily both times the strike was a LONG way off... The times a strike was "right on top of me" I didn't feel a single little tingle...

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Old August 17, 2012, 10:59 AM   #3
Smokey Joe
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Bswiv--Lightning is spooky, and while there are generalities, it obeys no consistent rules. You guys lucked out big time.

That tree probably saved you by being a more inviting target than you were. Glad you made it OK.

Nice 'gator! Don't have those in my part of the woods. I expect there are plenty of good-to-eat bits there--Do you save the hide also?

Old guys get to be old guys by a combination of luck plus not doing TOO many really dumb things as young guys.

And we (I count myself as an old guy) need to stick around to inspire and teach the up-and-comers.

Glad you included the pix. I'd love to hunt a 'gator some day myself, but not likely to happen.
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe
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Old August 17, 2012, 11:43 AM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Now wait.... I watch that show, Swamp Men.... They're all the time pulling in gators that are half that long and half that wide and they're "1000 pound monsters".

We all KNOW that TV shows are accurate and realistic, so you MUST be wrong. That beast must weigh at least 4,000 pounds.

Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
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Old August 17, 2012, 01:13 PM   #5
Mayor Al
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Hey, You want to talk about Thunderboomer scares and close-calls....Last night we were celebrating a D-I-L's birthday with about a dozen family members at a local Mexican restaurant. Everyone had pitchers of Margaritas and the party was on...Then a solid wall of thunder, lightening, and heavy rain hit the place. My Luck Held though. My second (60 oz) pitcher of Margaritas just got lifted off the blender when the power went out. The others had to switch to bottled beer...but I had my Pitcher to keep me safe thru the storm !

An hour later all was fine. No gators, but this morning my head told me I had done a bad thing by not sharing that pitcher.
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Old August 17, 2012, 02:29 PM   #6
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Nice! And a good story, too.

No alligators here in PA, though.
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Old August 17, 2012, 02:53 PM   #7
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At least you weren't in a sail boat

Nice looking reptile.
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Old August 17, 2012, 02:54 PM   #8
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Yes, he's chubby. What did you do him in with?
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Old August 17, 2012, 06:41 PM   #9
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What did we do with him..............???

Me and Richard, the guy in the picture, spent about 4 hours in pulling the hide off him and then removing the fat from the meat so that it was sellable.

Most of it went to one of the local restaurants, some out our retail market, the head is sold and the skin.....well the skin is the question at this point. Being a large wild male he has a number of battle scars, some on the belly and between the legs, which means he may well not bring much.

Last season we tossed a few of the hides we got straight in the dumpster and took a bad risk on a few others. Eneded up getting paid less that it cost for the salt and shipping on a couple and a few others, when you factor in the value of our time to scrape and salt....we lost on those too.

How it will turn out that year with the skins is up in the air......

The meat though......we'll do good on that.

And the fun......OMG.....about as good as it gets!
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:45 AM   #10
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Choot'em Yul, ........choot'em .
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