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Lake deputy kills gator that trees girl at Freak Creek

Discussion in 'GatorTail Pub' started by gatorjjh, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    Lake deputy kills gator that trees girl at Freak Creek
    By Frank Stanfield / GateHouse Media

    ASTOR — An alligator treed a 15-year-old girl for 30 minutes Friday before a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the hissing menace.

    It was every bit of 10 feet long,” the girl’s father, Michael Henderson, 35, told the Daily Commercial on Monday. “His head (in the water) was 2 or 3 feet long.”

    “The alligator was approximately 4 feet from me, 3 feet from the base of the tree, and was in the water when I located it. My presence failed to scare the alligator away and it began encroaching on my area, at which time I fired one single .223-caliber round from my Bushmaster AR-15, killing the alligator,” Lake Sheriff’s Deputy Mitch Blackmon reported.

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    Lake deputy kills gator that trees girl at Freak Creek
     
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  2. LakeGator

    LakeGator Mostly Harmless Moderator VIP Member

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    This is definitely not the smart time of year to be swimming in fresh water in Florida. The alligator population is in mating season and more aggressive than normal. As the article states, the alligators loose their fear of humans when feed. My experience with the incredibly smart snowbirds who see us crackers as backward and slow is that many think it is cute to feed marshmallows to alligators. I have had several encounters with these hemorrhoid-like people when I lived on Lake Griffin and they would be on the various docks feeding the alligators.

    I have had several encounters with the lake gators, part of the rationale for my username, over the years including making the front page of the Orlando Sentinel in August of 1992 when a 12 foot gator bit off the stern of my shell.
     
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  3. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    Gators in the lakes and ponds around Clermont in the 50s/60s were the norm and you just expected them to be around and acted accordingly
    thought I might hear from you on this one :) @LakeGator
     
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  4. shelbygt350

    shelbygt350 GC Hall of Fame

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    I had a couple of encounters w/ gators, one as a small kid. Cops came and shot gator in front of my dad and I. I thought it was very cool.

    Next time was in college, canoeing with buddy and our GFs, and ran into a pack of them in the river, they entered water and were cruising on both sides of canoe, so we told our peeing in their pants girls to stay still and quiet and we'd paddle along. Frankly, my buddy and I later admitted it scared the crap out of us, but we faked it.

    I recall a couple of years ago, cant remember where, some party rednecks were told to get out of water due to big gator. Big gator shows up and drunk redneck says he aint 'fraid no gator and jumps in. Gator ate him.

    A friend of mine lived on a lake in the 70s and his neighbor's <5 yr old daughter was snatched and killed by a gator. They found her body in his den a few days later.
     
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  5. g8orbill

    g8orbill Old Gator VIP Member

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    most of the time a gator is afraid oh humans-they will attack if they are used to being fed(happens way to often when teen boys go to gatorland and then think it will be cool to do the same thing-then they tire of the activity and the gator looks for other things along the bank-this is what happened when the 4 year old was grabbed by a Gator at Disney a few years ago- Firefighters were feeding the gators in the canal behind their station about a 1/4 mile from the Grand Floridian-that canal connected to the 7 Seas Lagoon - the sad think is Disney was made aware of this and just sent them an email telling them to stop and did not make any effort to find and trap the gators
     
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  6. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    Officer: Momma gator that chased girl was protecting nest
    ASTOR – A licensed nuisance alligator trapper on Monday recovered the carcass of a 8-foot-6-inch alligator that chased a teenage girl up a tree in Freak Creek near Alexander Springs on Friday.

    “A necropsy was not necessary,” said Greg Workman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. It was not necessary because the cause of death was obvious: A .223-caliber bullet wound from a Lake County sheriff’s deputy’s AR-15.

    Investigators also found the cause of the unusually aggressive behavior: The female gator was protecting a nearby nest.

    “Alligators seldom bite people for reasons other than food,” the FWC website notes. “Female alligators may protect their nests by hissing and opening their mouths to frighten intruders ....”



    Officer: Momma gator that chased girl was protecting nest
     
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  7. solari

    solari GC Janitor VIP Member GC Staff

    Wow, I'd like to hear more about that... And was this your boat it chomped on? or Canoe, etc?

    Ray
     
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  8. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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    When I got down here for college, my girlfriend at the time was a world class water skiier. She got me hooked, but I was still very concerned about alligators in the lakes I'm about to spend a LOT of time in. My job in school was with IFAS (college of agriculture) and we put on the alligator production conference for the alligator farmers across the state. Don't you know I studied the resource materials harder than my business school classes. Basically, the findings suggested that alligators are very primitive, not very smart, are more afraid of humans than we are of them, and are only interested in two things: eating and sleeping.

    I've skiied in some of the swampiest gator infested lakes throughout Florida, and by using precautions never had a run in with them. By precautions I mean leave them to their territory (typically the shorelines and swampy areas with as dark and opaque water as possible), and stay away from the shorelines at dawn and dusk, their typical feeding times. When I was a driver for the ski club for UF at Lake Wauburg, when we would open up the site there was generally a gator sunning himself on the jump ramp and we would spray it with the boat at high speed and they would scatter.

    The best way to deal with alligators is to leave them alone, DO NOT feed them, and know when and where they are likely to be so you can avoid them.
     
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  9. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    there was a lake right behind out HS cafeteria our Principal would go down to the lake with left over rolls etc and call up a couple of gators who of course they responded... gators in lakes and ponds in Clermont were just a part of the landscape and you kept an eye out for them, rattlesnakes in the groves were treated about the same way, expect to find them and watch your step
     
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  10. Claygator

    Claygator GC Hall of Fame

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    Craziest Gator scare of my life happened when I was cycling. I cycled into the Babcock Ranch back in the day on a narrow road with two canals on either side, both overgrown. One second the road was clear, the next an 8' gator was in the road right in front of me. mouth wide open and hissing. It got there so fast it was like Scotty beamed her there. I couldn't stop in time and swerved right in front of her mouth but got safely by. Scared the %$#& out of me. I assumed it was a female with a nest nearby.

    Because I had to go back out the same road, I marked the location and on my return was running a solid 30 mph by that spot. I never cycled in there again.
     
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  11. WhattaGator

    WhattaGator All Along The Watchtower Moderator VIP Member

    In the late 70's, when I was the cooking instructor for all of the Sonny's Bar-B-Q's in Broward County, and starting playing Jai Alai at the Dania fronton, my buddy and I would rent a 12 foot johnboat with a 20 HP motor, andd go fishing for large mouth bass in the Miami Canal in the everglades.

    We each had our lines in, and were just drifting with the slow current. As we were both starting to get some nibbles on our bait, I didn't realize that we were drifting close to the sawgrass on the bank.

    As I turned to see how close we were, THEN I saw a gator's gaping mouth, about a foot and a half big, just sitting not two feet from me.

    Needless to say, I cranked that motor on as fast as I could, with my buddy Gerry yelling; "Man, what are you doing that for? We still have our lines in the water!"

    As I pulled the boat away from the bank, all I had to do was point, because that freaking gator hadn't even closed it's mouth.
     
  12. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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    When I saw this was in Freak Creek in Lake County, I thought it would be Silver Glen off Lake George. The times I went there, it was certainly "freak creek". That place was wild back then.
     
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  13. hoyt233

    hoyt233 GC Hall of Fame

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    Prattvile, AL-Go Lions!
    Was she wearing a nole t-shirt?
     
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  14. g8orbill

    g8orbill Old Gator VIP Member

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    I do not think Marvin Styles was afraid of anything - he, my Dad and Dick Douglass had a standing Sat am golf game and the stories my Dad told about him were funny as you know what
     
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  15. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    Styles & I did not see eye to eye on much if anything, particularly I did not like the way he treated Lagano & Julich, 2 of my fav teachers & coaches.
     
  16. LakeGator

    LakeGator Mostly Harmless Moderator VIP Member

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    I had to search a bit t find the copy of the paper. My passion is rowing which I started in high school had decent success including winning a US gold medal in 1968. My birth certificate lists my address "On Lake Griffin" and this was one of a few times I was thinking it would be on my death certificate as well. Being a native and living on the shore of the lake I am very aware of the ways of nature and being careful. As several people have noted, the normal gators are very afraid of humans. My experience of having rowed on Lake Griffin for a few decades was that gators would approach me while rowing and once they got close enough to realize I was human they would do a panic escape by making a 270 turn, I assume to get the most torque from their tail, and leave at a high rate of speed. A year or so before my 15 seconds of fame below I was rowing when something made a hole about 6 feet back from the bow and I ended up have to swim the boat back to shore. I asked the FWC if it could have been a gator and they assured me there was no way.

    The gator was eventually caught and destroyed. It was a 12 foot female weighing 450 pounds. The FWC never came to the site and later denied the attack ever occurred. As mentioned, the police saw the gator guarding my boat but it did not behave aggressively hence the need for the trapper.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. gatorjjh

    gatorjjh A Gator with a Glass half full attitude Moderator VIP Member

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    great story, interesting to see the sentinel clips with the quotes :)
     
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  18. solari

    solari GC Janitor VIP Member GC Staff

    Holyyyy sheet! I've had some close calls with big Gators on the Myakka river bouncing off my kayak on narrow parts of the river when I'd startle them so close to shore but nothing like your experience. That's freaky... Did they ever catch the lady?

    It is indeed highly unusual for them to chomp on your boat aggressively. I wonder if you were near a nest?

    Thanks for sharing, that was great stuff. Glad you're alive and well to share the tale. : )

    Ray
     
  19. akaGatorhoops

    akaGatorhoops GC Columnist VIP Member

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    I was 13 when I was fishing and a gator came out of the water and chased me up the bank.
    I was certainly startled but ready to go back fishing.
    Onlookers and game warden thought otherwise. Some official came over to calm me and find out what happened. “I’m fine,” I assured him. “No big deal”.
    I had worked at an exotic pet store for a couple years and handled every type of reptile... including caimans.
    But they weren’t having it. This was a nuisance gator that had apparently lost its fear. “Someone must have been feeding it,” I was told. The gator was caught and euthanized.
    I was pissed.
     
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  20. gatorknights

    gatorknights GC Hall of Fame

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    Wow you rowed on Lake Griffin? You're a better man than I. I'm not afraid of alligators and have skiied on some pretty sketchy areas (Lk Wauberg here, Lake Eustis, a private site in Tampa (you could hear the gators croaking in the sawgrass on the pickup/rescue boats) and once in the St. John's between Sanford and Blue Springs, but I would NEVER put my toe in the water on Griffin. Nor Lake Jessup, Lake Harney, Lake Monroe, and definitely NOT Lake Apopka. Now the Butler Chain, Conway Chain and Clermont Chain are great lakes for skiing. Clean water and big lakes.
     
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