Florida hunters catch massive 12-foot gator (includes video story)

A pair of hunters came across a 12-foot alligator near Pensacola. The mission was three years in the making.

“We saw this foot and that tail, and it was like watching a ‘Jaws’ movie,” said hunter Andy Sokol. “I said we might need a bigger boat.”

Sokol and his friend Tanner came across the gator Monday morning in the Perdido River. After years of waiting for his shot, Sokol says he was eager but was also in for a shock.

“I knew when we got a hook in him, we were like okay he’s pretty big” shared Sokol. “But then when we saw this giant foot and this giant tail come up next to the boat, we were like okay he’s really big.”

The hunters confirmed the massive size of the gator and its approximate age, saying it was about 50 years old. They also claimed it took two hours to get the gator out of the water, an experience this veteran says he’ll never forget.

“It was definitely a different kind of battle,” said Sokol. “I’d say the closest thing to war I’ve ever felt. It’ll get your heart going, definitely. I think the small boat really enhanced that feeling. But it was fun, it was definitely fun. I’ll remember that forever.”

The plan now is to get the gator cleaned and processed and apply again for another tag next year.



Zitlali Solache is a student in Florida International University, pursuing her Masters degree in Spanish-Language Broadcast Journalism. Zitlali Solache is Mexican American and has a passion for storytelling and news. She has interned for WPBT PBS, WSVN Channel 7 and STEP Univision. After graduation, Zitlali aspires to become a reporter/anchor in her hometown Miami, FL.