He's spent weeks swimming around the Gulfport Harbor and outfoxing his "would be" captors, but for how long? On Sunday, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks went out looking for an alligator ten feet long. Officials say while alligators are common in our area, they're concerned that such a large animal could be dangerous if he continues to roam free in heavily populated areas.
The alligator seemed comfortable eating ducks and fish in Gulfport Harbor, but the life of luxury didn't last long. A 17-year career as a trapper earned Sam Searcy the name "Gator Man" and he planned to make the "gator" his latest catch.
"I've been after this one for a month so me and him I guess we got a destiny," said Searcy.
Originally I thought I was destined to join "Gator Man" on his quest but when he told me the story of how an alligator once bit a hole in his boat, I decided to leave gator trapping to the experts.
"That water is too deep and as you can see that's a pretty good sized alligator too," said Searcy. "He's a little bigger than you'd want your first go round. I'd watch."
Most of the time was spent watching and waiting for the estimated 300 pound alligator to reemerge.
Jimmy Lawrence of the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said, "They get to where they're not scared of people any more and when they get big that's when we could have a problem."
Finally, the men spotted what they're looking for. Watching Gator Man work was a lot like watching a cowboy with his lasso. He used a rod and reel to hook the animal then pull it until it gets tired. Even though "Gator Man" fought to hang on, for the sixth time the alligator had gotten away.
"He broke our line," said Searcy. "It was just the luck of the draw. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. He won that round, but it's inevitable. If he stays out here I'm gonna get him sooner or later."
After a month of trying Sam "Gator Man" Searcy captured the alligator a few hours after we left. Searcy took him home where he says he plans to harvest the reptile.