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14-foot Alligator Bagged in Florida Breaks State Record

(FWC photo) “That was the second luckiest day of my life; the first was when I married my wife, Janette,” said Robert “Tres” (pronounced “Tray”) Ammerman, after he bagged the alligator which turned out to be the longest on record in Florida. Ammerman, a licensed practical nurse at Florida Living Nursing Center in Apopka, has...

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(FWC photo)

“That was the second luckiest day of my life; the first was when I married my wife, Janette,” said Robert “Tres” (pronounced “Tray”) Ammerman, after he bagged the alligator which turned out to be the longest on record in Florida.

Ammerman, a licensed practical nurse at Florida Living Nursing Center in Apopka, has been hunting alligators in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) annual statewide alligator harvest for the past seven years. “But it wasn’t until the last day of this year’s season that the Pine Hills resident hit the jackpot and took what he would later learn is the state’s longest documented alligator, breaking a 13-year record,” FWC said in a caption released with this photograph of Ammerman with the record alligator.

The official measurements put Ammerman’s gator at 14 feet, 3½ inches (4.35 meters) long and 654 pounds (297 kilograms), FWC said. “The previous record for length was held by a 14-foot, 5/8-inch alligator taken from Lake Monroe in 1997 by a nuisance-alligator trapper. The heaviest alligator on record weighed 1,043 pounds [473 kilograms] and was taken from Orange Lake in 1989. It was also taken as a nuisance gator.”

The FWC estimates that 1,250,000 wild alligators live in Florida, enough to sustain controlled hunting.

“Since 1988, Florida’s statewide alligator harvest has been internationally recognized as a model program for the sustainable use of a natural resource,” the FWC website states. “Each year, alligator management units are established with appropriate harvest quotas to provide recreational opportunities for Floridians and non-residents to take up to two alligators per permit.”

According to the FWC website, the American alligator is classified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as similarity of appearance to a threatened taxon. This listing provides federal protection for alligators but allows state-approved management and control programs. The alligator is listed by the State of Florida as a Species of Special Concern (172 KB Adobe Reader file). Alligators can be legally taken only by individuals with proper licenses and permits.

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David Max Braun
More than forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Max Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. In his 22-year career at National Geographic he was VP and editor in chief of National Geographic Digital Media, and the founding editor of the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directed the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. A regular expert on National Geographic Expeditions, David also lectures on storytelling for impact. He has 120,000 followers on social media: Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn