Tarkington man catches massive gator

Shane Lee and nephew Lance Stephens, both of Tarkington, stand alongside a 13-foot, 4.25-inch alligator taken from a duck-hunting pond in Tarkington.

Shane Lee, of Tarkington, caught a massive, 13-foot, 4.25-inch alligator on Tuesday during the first week of open hunting season for alligators in Texas.

The gator was captured on a deer lease in Tarkington on a waterhole that Lee, his nephew Lance Stephens and buddy Jerid Ellis use often for duck hunting.

“We are out there in that water all the time duck hunting and we never knew that alligator was even in there,” Lee said. “We didn’t know there was one that big in there. We had never seen him before.”

Lee and Stephens won two of 10 alligator hunting tags that were offered by the hunting lease this year.

“This was the first time we’ve gotten them. They sent out a mass email to see who is interested in them, and then did a lottery drawing among those who were interested,” Lee said. Stephens used his tag on Saturday to capture an 11-foot, 8-5-inch alligator.

For Lee, this was his first time to catch an alligator and says it was a team effort for all three men.

To bait the alligator to their fishing line, they attached a dead raccoon to a cane pool that was attached to a little tree. After setting the line, they left and returned sometime later to find the small tree shaking, an indication that an alligator or something large was at the other end of the line.

“I pulled the line up and saw that it was a big alligator,” said Lee.

After quickly dispatching the alligator, they pulled it to shore and then used a winch on a buggy to lift the massive beast out of the water.

Late Tuesday night, the alligator was taken to Porters Processing in Anahuac. Lee said they plan to tan the gator’s hide and have the head mounted. All of the meat that can be salvaged will be eaten. Lee said that the alligator is estimated to be 65 to 75 years old.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, alligator hunting season began on Sept. 10 and ends Sept. 30. The culling of alligators during this period helps manage Texas’s alligator population. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulates the amount of tags that are issued based on the acreage and the type of habitat owned.

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