Local looks to reel in big gators from Lake Concordia

Published 12:03 am Sunday, September 7, 2014

The gator measured 8-foot-1. Top: Chip Bunch pulls a dead alligator out of Lake Concordia Wednesday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

The gator measured 8-foot-1. Top: Chip Bunch pulls a dead alligator out of Lake Concordia Wednesday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — When it comes to hunting alligator, Paul and Angel Rogers hit the lottery, literally.

Only one of them is overly happy about it, though.

The couple received word that the state picked Lake Concordia, a lake in which Paul and Angel operate Lakeview Lodge on, as one of the public lakes eligible for alligator hunting.

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Paul entered the lottery in 2013 and in 2014, and luckily for him, he drew one of the eight lottery tickets that allotted him two gator tags to hunt in Lake Concordia on Sept. 3. His wife, Angel, has no interest in riding in the same boat with him.

“I would love to follow him out there, but there’s no way I’m getting in the same boat as him,” Angel said. “Are you crazy?”

Excited, Paul has been doing his homework on alligator hunting, and he’s doing his best to stay away from any advice given on television.

When it comes to alligator hunting, Paul said it’s all about finding a good spot, tying up a line, putting a chicken on the hook and seeing how it goes from there.

“You watch these television shows, like ‘Swamp People,’ and they show the people struggling with the alligator, but if you get the gator on the hook, he ain’t going nowhere,” said Paul, who is originally from Baton Rouge.

Paul and Angel moved to Ferriday three years ago in a camper.

It just so happened that someone was selling their lodge near Paul and Angel, and they decided to buy it and fix it up. The Lakeview Lodge has a $5 fee to launch boats, 24 RV spots to rent out by the month and it offers 12 rental properties. It’s setup like a small hotel, and they even have a bait shop.

An outdoorsman at heart, Paul has fished and hunted all of his life, but running a lodge has taken away from his time reserved for fishing.

“If you would see a picture of what this place looked like before compared to what it looks like now, you wouldn’t believe it,” Paul said.

Paul will set out four lines, two for each tag, and if Paul has a bite on two tags, he can do his best Troy Landry “choot ‘em” impression and catch two alligators.

Should Paul get two alligators on the first lines he set out, he will be “tagged out.”

The process will be an exciting one, even for Angel, who will be watching from afar.

“Ain’t no way I’m getting close, but I’m excited about the whole thing,” Angel said. “I’m happy he’s getting to do it. He’s been talking about it for a while.”

It didn’t take long for Paul to have success, bringing in an 8-foot-1 inch gator on Wednesday. However, it was a little different than most.

“It had drowned,” Paul said. “We had checked the night before and nothing was on the line. Turns out, he had eaten the chicken and in the morning the line was down, and we slowly pulled him up and saw he drowned.”

Paul was able to sell the gator and found out from the buyer that many had been coming in like that. The dead gator still counted as one of Paul’s catches, so Paul is left with one tag remaining.

Paul is still waiting for his other lines to go down, but he has his eye in one specific spot.

“Right now, I’m watching a pretty good size gator in front of the lodge,” Paul said. “I’m concentrating on getting him.”

Even though Paul already hit the lottery once, he is hoping to hit it once again with another big gator.

“I’d love to do this every year, but it is something that isn’t guaranteed,” Paul said. “Having to put in the lottery and hope to be picked.”

The season ends for Paul on Oct. 3.