After a short drive south from Headwaters, Bob and I arrived at the ranch to prepare for the alligator hunt. The FWC issues seasonal alligator hunting tags statewide but now also offers tags to land owners like the Hall family to allow guests to hunt alligator year round on private property.

With close to 1000 acres of piney flatwoods and wet prairie bordering the vast 50,000 acre Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, the wet terrain of the Hall ranch creates the ideal habitat for finding a giant gator lurking in the marsh. In fact earlier this year a monster gator that was only one foot shy of the state record measuring over 13 feet and weighing over 900 pounds was shot just a few miles down the road from the property near the city of Okeechobee.

After a late lunch Bob and I strategized with Hunter on where to find the biggest gator on the property.

“We have a lot of gators out here especially near the ponds,” Hunter explained, “But I know where at least two big ones have been hanging out.”

Armed with an offshore tuna rod and reel spooled with 200 pound braided line attached to a weighted treble hook and a scoped rifle, Bob and Hunter set off on foot through a field of high grass on the north end of the ranch near several ponds teeming with alligators.

“Not big enough,” whispered Hunter, as he and Bob crept towards the edge of the marsh to take a closer look at a lone eight footer that was sunning. Scanning the water from safely behind them I spotted about a dozen more swimming around as well. “Let’s keep moving,” whispered Hunter.

After creeping a few more yards through the high grass he pointed to the wide head of a giant alligator that quickly descended. Hunter hurriedly cast the treble hook across the residual bubbles emanating at the water’s surface and hooked into the big reptile before handing the reel to Bob.

After half an hour of cranking and pulling on the rod which required all three of us to take turns with, the huge gator’s enormous head eventually emerged near the water’s surface allowing Bob a shot with the rifle that finally ended the battle.

After Hunter’s father Ian arrived with a tractor the four of us loaded the massive reptile into the excavator bucket. “Ten feet six inches,” said Ian, after measuring it from head to tail. After photos and a few refreshments we hauled the gator south to Okeechobee to be processed, and in a few weeks Bob will have a few hundred pounds of sealed gator meat along with a ten foot tanned skin to commemorate the experience.

Headwaters Lake public boat ramp access

Located off Fellsmere Grade Road less than 10 miles west of Fellsmere, FL off I-95. Parking for around 44 trailers and restroom facilities are available. Additional parking available 2 miles away at the Stick Marsh/Farm 13 boat ramp.


Dustin spent his childhood exploring the bass-rich ponds that once blanketed the Central Florida landscape. At age 16 he headed east to hone his skills on redfish and sea trout in the famous Mosquito Lagoon. After high school He graduated with a B.S. Degree in Environmental Science began his career as a Senior Environmental Engineer while also traveling the U.S. as a freelance outdoor writer in search of fishing and hunting adventures. Over the past decade hundreds of Dustin’s works have been published in numerous well known travel, fishing, hunting and outdoor publications throughout the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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