The sight of a 12 to 14 foot-long alligator is something south Georgia folks see occasionally, but few have seen one take an adult deer out to lunch. Actually — for lunch.
These photographs of this deer-eating alligator were taken from the air by Terry Jenkins, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service District Fire Management Officer. She was preparing to ignite a prescribed fire at Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on March 4, 2004.
Click to enlarge
This one was at least 12-13 feet long. Jenkins said that some bull alligators have a 35-inch girth.
The Service uses a helicopter capable of igniting controlled burns by dropping flaming fuel-filled ping pong balls on preselected areas. She works throughout parts of North Carolina, South Carolina and Coastal Georgia refuges and fish hatcheries. The Service uses prescribed fire to improve habitat and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
If you’re a deer hunter, the refuge hosts an archery hunt on September 15-17, 2004 and a gun hunt November 19, 2004 (only 150 permits will be issued). For more information, and to obtain an application, visit: http://harrisneck.fws.gov/. Applications must be received by August 31, 2004 at Savannah Coastal Refuges, 1000 Business Center Drive, Parkway Business Center, Suite 10, Savannah, Georgia, 31405.
The alligator will not be charged with hunting deer out of season, animal cruelty, or any one of several possible water quality violations. He may, however, be charged with being one mean gator.
If we could catch him… Or wanted to…
US Fish and Wildlife Press Release
For further information, contact Tom R. MacKenzie – Chief, Media Relations
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Southeast Region