A weekend hunting excursion turned into a trip of a lifetime for a group of central Arkansas men. Gary Bearden, Travis Bearden, Cody Beraden and Tommy Kelley were alligator hunting on south Arkansas’s Lake Merrisach for the second weekend in a row, and were hoping for success. But, they never anticipated exactly what awaited them in the lake.
All four men were aboard a boat on the lake on September 26, 2020, when they saw an alligator in the water. Unaware of the size of the gator, they approached it and harpooned it. It was only then that they realized that it was a “giant.”
“It drug the boat around for almost 2 hours before I was able to get a clean shot on it,” Travis Bearden said.
The alligator measured just shy of 14-feet-long and weighed 800 pounds, enough to break the state record…sort of.
According to Trey Reid with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Bearden’s kill is the longest alligator harvested since Arkansas has had an alligator season.
“We don’t really have an official state record, but keep data on length, and it’s the longest,” Reid said.
Bearden told local media that his permit was only good for two weekends and that this weekend was his last chance to use it. Last weekend, he hunted for 10 hours each night and came up empty. But, his diligence paid off in a big way on Saturday.
“Having my dad and my brother there made it that much more special,” he said. “I just sat back and listened to my dad tell stranger after stranger the story! I think he might be more excited than I am!”
Travis Bearden shared photos of the gator on social media, and this gator is the stuff nightmares are made off. Check out the photos below.
The New State Record for Arkansas! Measuring in at 13’ 11.5” and weighing 800lbs. I’ve got to give a shoutout to…