As you can tell by my username, I'm exactly that-I'm of mixed Seminole and Caucasian descent. I do have some tribal recognition, and I can trace my lineage back to the Everglades, as well as claim some distant relatives on reservation today. It's been something that has been a defining thing growing up-especially growing up in a place like Jasper, which has all the small town prejudices. I tend to identify more with that side, having faced the stigmas from it all my life. I'm proud to be who I am.
My forefathers hunted (and wrestled) alligators from before recorded history on this continent. It's been a rite of passage for as long as we've been Seminole. And, of course, having grown up in central Alabama, one I have never gotten to take part in. A situation I'd love to remedy.
I mention bucket list because as I have a rare connective tissue disorder, the docs tell me I won't live as long as everyone else. They can't tell me a when, but the average is 30-35. I'll be 32 next month. Some don't make it that far. My son died of it a day short of two. I'm not saying this to garner sympathy, it changes the equipment I can use and what I need to carry. I've lasted this long because I'm too blasted tough to know when to quit.
What draw weight would you recommend for hunting gator? I currently have a horse bow of roughly 40 pounds and a cable-backed longbow that I need to test for weight, as well as a roughly 45 pounder being made by Dan Bonner. I can't just go out and buy a new bow if I need it, though-my draw length is 36", 34" if I draw short but any shorter and it hurts. The geometry's all wrong. I understand at this point I have to make most of my tackle myself, including the arrows. That's why I'm setting myself a year to get ready for the hunt. Time to work up draw weights if I need to, time to make a bow capable of hunting in the wet and time to assemble all my gear and save up some money.
I plan to put in for a tag in next year's hunt in lower AL, but I'd love to one day hunt the Everglades like my father's fathers did, and I'd love the opportunity to take a python while I'm at it. They're destroying the ecosystem. AL's tag system doesn't seem too overburdened, I think there's a decent chance I'll get one.
Also, I plan on bringing home anything useful off the gator-hide, meat, bones, sinews-as that's how I treat any kills. Any tips on skinning a gator would be greatly appreciated.
While I would LIKE to do this all with the bow, I do have a shotgun for backup, if it's deemed I would need it. Any resources you guys who have done it on shot placement would be greatly appreciated.
I know this might seem a little tame to those of you who have faced down water buffalo, elephants and the like. But this is my shot to become a Seminole warrior, even if in name only. It means the world to me.
Posts: 968 | From: Jasper, Alabama | Registered: Apr 2013
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I think 40 to 45 might be a little light since the arrows and heavy point are darn near a fletched harpoon. My rig was the plx below with an AMS bowfishing reel. Extensive practice made me decide that 15 yds was max range. Best advice I can give is try the bowfishing setup with your bow and see how it feels. Their hides are thick, so you are going to need some umph behind the arrow.
You want a harpoon for use on submerged shot opportunities, also. I would darn sure give one a shot to the brain before putting it into (or strapped to the side of) my boat.
There is lots of good info on the web about rigging. Study up. I liked the Innerloc gator head we used for both arrow and harpoon. Don't buy a float, use a foam filled jug.
Good luck in your quest. A big gator is an experience that I have not tried to describe to very many people. Worth the effort, for sure. TG
-------------------- Let's go to the woods and learn things about life (Penelope, age 4, to me).