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Wisner kills 11.5 foot gator

NATCHEZ — Rebecca Wisner has been hunting alligators with her family for a quarter century.

But it wasn’t until last week that she was finally the one lucky enough to get to pull the trigger.

Wisner, 34, was hunting with her father, Danny Lee Wisner, and brother, Danny Earl Wisner, on the Mississippi River when they snagged what they thought was a decent sized alligator.

“We just threw (our hooks) at the head,” Rebecca said. “You don’t really know what size it is, but we thought it was about 8 feet. But then we wrestled it for an hour before we got it close enough to see it.”

What the family saw was an 11.5 foot, 500-pound gator that took the effort of all three Wisners, as well as a couple of reinforcements, to real in.

“We called my aunt (Darlene Ferry) to come help us,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca said the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the kill is something that she will always remember.

“It was a rush,” she said. “It was definitely an adrenaline rush.”

Rebecca is the last member of the family to kill a gator. Her grandfather and father taught her to hunt, and her brother and mother, Betty Wisner, have killed gators before. But Rebecca did get some bragging rights with her first kill.

“My dad couldn’t believe how big it was,” Rebecca said. “I could not believe that I got one that was bigger than my brothers. That was unbelievable. It was bigger than my brother’s and my dad’s.”

Rebecca said her gator fell approximately 6 inches shorter in length than her grandfather William Earl Wisner’s biggest gator.

The family found Mississippi gator hunting to be much different than in Louisiana. In Mississippi, hunters are not allowed to bait hooks to catch alligators, and Rebecca said she and her family decided to try to snag the gator — which is similar to fishing.

“Me and my dad went to a class in Hattiesburg, and they told dad we would have to snag the gator, or use bow equipment,” Rebecca said. “He said, ‘What have you gotten me into?”

Rebecca said by the end of the hunt, her father said it was one of the best hunting experiences he has ever had.

“He put it in his top 10 things that people must do,” she said. “He said everyone should hunt in Mississippi because of the adrenaline rush you get when holding onto the pole. Dad is still on a rush.”

The family has already eaten a lot of the meat that the gator provided, and they are going to sell the hide. Rebecca said her father’s house is already decorated with plenty of gator trophies, and he did not need another one.

Rebecca said the next goal is to get her aunt Darlene her first gator kill.

“She’s ready to go with us after helping this year,” Rebecca said.