When J.C. Bertrand, his son Josh and a friend Colby Morgan realized they had an 11-foot long alligator at the end of their line, the battle was on.
The three fought with the large gator until it wore itself out. Then one of the Bertrands took out the powerful .44 caliber magnum pistol for the big gator. The Bertrands use the magnum for gators eight feet and longer. For the smaller ones they use a .38 caliber special pistol.
The Bertrands took out that pistol and fired a shot in the head, killing the gator instantly. Then came the difficult part - getting the long and heavy gator into their mud boat. It took the three of them, plus a wench to lift the big thing in the boat.
“We were happy when we seen how big it was,” said J.C. Bertrand.
The Bertrands were one of the first alligator hunters to arrive at Vermilion Gator Farm to sell the seven gators they caught in Pecan Island. The average size of the other six gators was eight feet long.
They have 53 tags left to fill.
The very first hunter to arrive at Vermilion Gator Farm, located in Seventh Ward area, was Mike Broussard with three alligators. He hunts in Pecan Island and only has four tags. His average size gator that morning was seven feet long.
“I wish I would have captured longer ones,” Broussard said. “But you don’t grow to be 11 feet long because you are stupid.”
He only hunts on 400 acres of land, and is allowed to kill one gator per one hundred acres.
“There are a lot of alligators out there,” said Broussard. “They are everywhere.” He expects to return to Vermilion Gator Farm in the next few days with his one gator.
Over the next 30 days, certain alligator hunters will take their capture to the gator farm to sell their catch. Each hunter can only kill a certain amount of alligators, depending on the amount of land they have to hunt on.
Kevin Sagrera of the Vermilion Gator Farm said the alligator industry is on the upswing because of TV shows like “Swamp People.” While the world is not wearing more alligator skin items, many have a desire for alligator meat, which is driving up the price of the gator.
Sagrera did not want to release what they were paying per foot for each gator, but he did say it is better than in the past.
Mike Broussard, after getting the ticket for his three gators, was also curious on the price. “I have no idea,” he said.