Gator Population

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Gator popluationAnyone that lives in Florida will tell you the Gator population in the state has taken off. They’re  everywhere, enjoying your family pet for dinner and making swimming a little eerie these days. If you want to get an appreciation for how many gator’s there actually are out there, go for a boat ride with a spotlight at night. You will be shocked by the number of orange eyes reflecting back at you. Though attacks are few and far between, gator encounters rarely end well. I personally witnessed the above gator swimming up to check out some kids that were throwing a net in the water at night.

Gator two

Fortunately there are folks the state can call on to address nuisance gators such as Judd pictured above who owns and operates Swamp Honky Outfitters. If you have never ridden along on a gator hunt you are missing out. Exciting doesn’t begin to describe it, check out the Swamp Honky Outfitters website and give Judd a call to see about scheduling a ride along or put in for a gator hunt lottery through the state and Judd will hook you up with a hunt.

Gator caught near Aligator Harbor
Gator caught near Alligator Harbor

I remember growing up you never heard of gators in saltwater, all you had to be concerned with were stingrays and sharks. Not so anymore, Mr. smiley has moved into saltwater and in large numbers. From what I hear they can’t tolerate saltwater indefinitely and must seek freshwater eventually. The gator above was removed from saltwater, gators that hang around saltwater tend to be a bit more aggressive as well.  Not sure why but something about their long term intolerance must explain why they get cantankerous.

20150705_194648 20150705_195219 Big gator

One thing I would like to add in this post is the importance of not feeding gators. Believe me, I think the shower adjusters have gone way overboard regarding feeding things like squirrels, deer and ducks. However, when it comes to gators just keep in mind that by feeding them you may just be responsible for someone getting maimed or killed in the future. Please don’t do it!!

Thanks for reading my Gator Population post and please drop me a comment. God bless and God save America.

P.S. check out the store by clicking on the below Affordable Hunting and Fishing logo.




32 thoughts on “Gator Population”

  1. Hello Mark,
    This is the first I have heard about gators moving to saltwater, does that explain the size of Mr. Smiley? He is huge.
    Have you ever watched the movie Water Boy, there is a line about gators in it saying they are so cantankerous because they have all those teeth and no toothbrush.
    I will not be swimming any time soon in your neck of the woods,

    1. I don’t think the size of Mr. smiley can be attributed to the saltwater San as I have seen them just as big in freshwater. Yea, I have seen Water Boy, guess the lack of a toothbrush could explain things. Didn’t intend to scare you out of the water. As concerning as it is to be around gators, it is true that the drive to the water is much more dangerous than swimming where they might be.

  2. That’s crazy there are so many gators now a days. I watched that one show on the History channel where they shadow a few groups of people that hunt them for a living. Seems like a pretty crazy ride. So why do you think that the gators are going into the saltwater? Is there just not enough room for the to eat in freshwater?

    1. Good question Aaron and I’m not sure I have an answer. I don’t think it is lack of habitat in Florida though, I suspect it was just adaptation. There is a lot of opportunity for food in saltwater, one gator starts going in, lays eggs near salt water and starts a trend. A good example is there are some dolphins that have figured out how to chase fish up on the shore and beach themselves to eat them and then flop back in the water. There are only small groups of dolphins that do this. How they figured it out and passed it on is beyond me.

  3. Wow Mark, those images are quite incredible, I sure wouldn’t want to mess with those gators!

    I’m fortunate to live in a country where the biggest thing we have to worry about is house flies lol.

    Do these gators actually get close to peoples homes, or is it more of a problem for the fishing community?


    1. Thanks for commenting Jay. Gators that have been fed by humans loose their fear of man and are dangerous to anyone in or near water. Just a few days ago near my parents house a gator walked on pavement at a busy boat ramp and grabbed a large dog. The scary thing is gators aren’t smart enough to distinguish between a small child and a dog. It could have been much worse than it was. Most likely in this case the gator just got use to people and was not longer afraid.

  4. Hi Mark, interesting article about gators. I think the title could be more to the point when reading” how to handle gators” or something similar. Population seems a bit misleading as I would expect numbers! As to your suggestion not to feed gators at any time and future maiming/deaths of people, I would like to know what exactly the link is between the two. Cheers, Jerry

    1. Sure didn’t mean to mislead you Jerry. The connection between feeding gators and potential future maiming/death of people is that gators react to their environment. If they are fed often they begin to associate humans with food/eating. They really don’t posses any intellect, they simply react. Humans near by equals food/eating in their pea brains, they don’t stop to “think” this is a human and I shouldn’t eat it.

  5. Hello Mark Williams,

    Alligators are ferocious predators that are situated in both salt and fresh water systems. I like your comment with the light at night to see how many potential predators their really are and would be freaky for sure. Your imagery really shows the ferocious animal close up and are terrifying.



    1. Yes they can be Benjamin and thanks for checking out my site. It is hard to describe the power of these reptiles as well. I have held them and they are pure muscle and teeth.

  6. Wow!! They are some big gators. I don’t think I would be going anywhere near those ones. We have a lot of crocodiles here in Australia. I think gators are less aggressive that crocodiles aren’t they? Either way, I think I will stay clear of them. I love to read and watch them on tv, but not in the wild!

    1. Yes Todd, from what I hear crocodiles are much more aggressive than gators. A lot of folks don’t know it but there are crocodiles in south Florida as well but they don’t get near as big as your Australian variety.

  7. Gators are dangerous. They need to be kept in check by responsible hunting and state management. We don’t want to kill them all. Just the ones in the backyard.

    1. Absolutely Joe, it is common since. Some of the articles I have read regarding harvesting nuisance gators is quite disconcerting. Comments such as it is their water not ours. Wonder how those folks would feel if it was their child attacked. Once the state started allowing gator farming it took the majority of poaching pressure off of gators. It is only prudent to maintain a healthy, safer, population through harvesting.

  8. Hi I ended up on your site by accident as I was looking for info on sea fishing ( by line ). I live on the south coast of Wales with a beach right outside our house ( on an estuary ). What advice would you give to a newbie looking to get into this sort of fishing?

    1. Wales? My best advise would be for you to invite me to fly over and visit for awhile:) I have always wanted to go there, so beautiful. If you could find a jetty in the estuary you should do well, fish will sit in the jetty and wait to ambush. I would have to do some research to see what types of fish you can catch there but guessing cod would be one of them. I’m betting small bait fish would be the way to go. Also, you might need some fairly heavy weights on your line to fight the current. Good luck Chris and let me know how it goes.

  9. Mark,
    The Gator Population is higher than when I lived in Florida 15 years ago. We would see them at the tee boxes on the golf course. At times we had to move our game to go around them. I am sure that they are just as bad now. Did you hear about the man that was killed by an eleven footer in Texas last week.

    1. I hadn’t heard of the death by gator in Texas John, what a shame. I can’t imagine the helplessness you would feel being attacked by one. I believe you are correct, the gator population is rising every year in spite of the limited hunting.

  10. Hi Mark,

    I live in Florida and I hear about some of the issues with the gator population. They are wild, dangerous animals and people need to respect their hunting and survival skills. Gators are very hardy animals. I do not personally hunt, but I understand the need to keep their population in check. I did not realize that they could survive for short periods of time in salt water. Yikes! I will definitely be more careful when I go swimming. Do you know if they go out into the ocean or do they prefer slower moving bodies of water? Thanks for a very informative article.

    1. Appreciate the comment Val. Though I’m sure there are exceptions to the rule, gators that venture into saltwater typically are found in bays and harbors. They can only spend short periods of time in salt water due to the lack of a gland the saltwater crocodiles have to purge the salt. I’m sure there have been gators out in the surf but from what I know, it is unusual. You might find my post on fishing at Alligator Harbor in Florida interesting as well.

  11. This was a real treat. I loved watching the gator shows on television for about the past 3 years now. I love everything about the gator catching from the preparation until the action hands around the snout. the pictures were really nice and it was so personable. Thanks for the great post. Do you have any videos of yourself catching the gators?

    1. Appreciate your visit Chris. Unfortunately, I was very low tech when I wrote the Gator Population post so all I have are pics right now. That will soon change, I will be headed back down to Florida within the next few weeks and hope to get lots of video to share so please come back. My first real attempt at adding video was my Creek Fishing post. Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

  12. Hi Mark,

    This is a very cool website idea. I personally love fishing and the gator pictures are awesome. Love the part where you said they are everywhere, enjoying your family dinner. I haven’t ever seen one in the wild but I can’t wait to see them now. Thanks for this post 🙂

    1. Well thanks for stopping by Rashaad. If you are near water in Florida for very long you WILL see a gator. These overgrown lizards are fun to watch too, as long as they keep their distance.

  13. Well, iit seems exciting. I haven’t been to any gator hunting. And i actually don’t like hunting that much because of that i love animals of every kind. I have hunter friends and it’s so fun to be out in the nature with them while huning but i just don’t like the idea of killing a gator.
    Anyways, what you do with that gator later?

  14. Hi Mark,

    I’m not from the US and whilst I knew about gators I learned a lot from reading your post. In Australia we have crocodiles, but luckily for us they’re hard to come by – for the most part – and we avoid them like the plague.

    I’d be super worried for my pets though if there were gators swimming around.

    Thanks again for the post, and all the best,


    1. Sure would love to visit Australia one day. So much to see and do there.

      Fortunately, gators are no where near as aggressive towards humans as crocodiles are.

      Take care Katia and please check back in soon.

  15. Hey Mark,

    How does the state determine how many gators can be taken in a year? You mention a lottery. Is this so the population doesn’t dwindle fast?

    Is the state looking to up the limits?


    We need to eat more gators (love me some gator tail) and I can always use a new pair of boots.

    1. The state typically has an idea of gator population for lakes and rivers and determine how many tags to provide for each body of water.

      They increase and decrease the numbers each year depending on the estimated population.

      Agree, gator tail is very good, one of my favorites.

      Take care and God bless.

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