Posted 10-10-2003 at 13:21:17
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"SWIMMING WITH GATORS"
It was the middle of May, my 10 year old son Luke, my friend Jerry and I decided to make a hunt on the Trinity River. We met at the river about 7:00AM to make a quick run before it got too hot. The three of us and four dogs loaded in the boat and headed north on the river. The dogs, Brutus a fence jumper, Twister a catahoula mix and Jerry’s pit bull female Honey and bay dog Bart were ready to hunt.
We reached the area we were going to target and unloaded on the bank. There was a lake that ran parallel to the river, which created a funnel on which a lot of game traveled. We were only 15 minutes into the hunt when Brutus an excellent strike dog started to bay. When Brutus barks you know he is looking at a hog. Twister and Bart, the other bay dogs joined in the chase. The dogs chased the hog the length of the lake, about a half a mile. Then they all piled into the end of the lake. When Jerry, Luke and I reached the end of the lake, much to our surprise there was boar hog about 125 pounds, our three bay dogs and an alligator in the water!
The dogs were baying the hog unaware of the alligator. The alligator was posturing making his body float up so he would appear bigger in the water. The gator was less than 20 feet away from the dogs, looking straight at them. The part of the gator that was out of the water, not counting what was under water was about 8 feet long. It looked big enough to take a dog or a hog. I yelled loudly,“There’s a gator!” as I reached the bank. I yelled a couple of times, the gator heard me, submerged and disappeared. Needless to say, we had a sudden urge to get all the animals out of the water, but the hog would not cooperate. He decided to swim the length of the lake and would not come close to the bank on either side.
We were very concerned for the safety of our dogs. I could just imagine a dog vanishing with a huge splash, just like we have seen many times on “National Geographic”. We finally got another glimpse of the gator. He was in the water near the opposite bank, between the cypress trees and the bank. He was watching all the action as it moved past him down the middle of the lake. The hog swam over half the length of the lake before he even started to look at the bank.
I moved into position by walking to the other side of the lake, in case the bay got close enough to the other side. Luke and Jerry stayed on the other side with Honey the pit bull. The bay started to move toward my side of the lake, so I tried to stay out of sight. As they neared the cypress trees in the water’s edge, I yelled at Jerry to release Honey. He was not real thrilled about putting Honey in the water with a gator near by. He did though and she swam across without a problem.
Honey reached the hog about 20 feet from the bank and latched on it. The other dogs also grabbed on. I quickly removed my rubber boots so I wouldn’t get swamped. I ran into the water hoping the commotion would be enough to keep the gator away. I grabbed the hog and yelled at the bay dogs to get out; they obeyed. Honey remained attached as I drug the hog to the bank. Luke and Jerry seeing the hog was caught started around the lake to help me.
Meanwhile, Honey kept dragging me and the hog down the muddy bank back in the water. That didn’t make me feel real comfortable not knowing where that gator was. So Honey and I held on to the hog till Luke and Jerry make it to us. We pulled the hog and Honey onto dry ground where we took some pictures and released the hog so we could enjoy hunting this boar another day.
My son Luke is a good hunting partner. He helps get the dogs off the hogs and ties them out. I am very proud of him. Hunting with friends and family will create memories that will last him a lifetime.