You remember how we always marveled that there were no gators in the lake – marvel no more. About a week ago I was nominally certain that I spotted one about a hundred feet from the dock. It was a one minute sighting at most and there was a nag in my mind that maybe it was a couple of turtles swimming close enough together to have the appearance of a small gator. I estimated it to be quite small – maybe 2′ long based on the distance between the eyes and the tip of the nose. A couple of days later Rick, George’s brother, told me that he too had seen a small gator in roughly the same area. Since then I’ve spent hours down on the dock reading, doing puzzles, casting and just looking for another glimpse but have come up empty.
Rewind back a month or so. I was kayaking and noticed that there was a grassy area on the shoreline across from us packed down tight. In the past whenever I had seen that pattern, it was a gator bed – a place where a gator crawled out onto shore and sunned. Since I had never seen any sign of a gator before, I put it off to be something else – maybe a deer or hog had lain there. A few days later I heard some shooting late in the afternoon – not anything unusual around here. I was out on the dock and the guy in the pontoon boat came over to tell me that a gator had been seen and shot. He said he had gone around the lake a few evenings with a spot light looking for gators and seen nothing. He was concerned for his Labs which spend a fair amount of time swimming off his dock and was satisfied that the beast was history.
With this new sighting, I decided to alert the ski crowd since they are the ones with the heavy artillery necessary to deal with these critters. My pellet gun is totally outclassed for anything other than cats at 30′ plus I doubt seriously that my marksmanship would let me even pop an eyeball. I stopped them Saturday and we chatted about the situation for a bit. They were nominally aware that there was one about 5-6′ long and guessed that based on my report, there were actually two in the lake. The guy, Brian Guyer, said that over the past 20 years there have been a couple of occasions where gators came over from an adjoining lake, lake Cain, and that it had happened when the water got low – just the situation we’ve had this year. He said that usually the gators that come in, leave fairly soon – in his words, â€œthey don’t seem to like this lakeâ€. He went on to say that they don’t like gators in this lake either and he had a couple of buddies who would take care of the situation if he called. I took it he meant convert them into shoes or belts and maybe a plate of gator bits. Since that’s not legal, I could tell he was feeling me out to see if I had any hangups with making them disappear. I made it quite clear that if I had the means, they’d be history in a heartbeat. The Guyer’s do lots of swimming off their dock, have little kids and small dogs and all the right reasons to take action. The kids told a few funny stories about skiing right next to one a few years ago. They have signals between the skier and boat driver, one being to pat the top of the head signalling a need to return home. The girl, maybe 12 now, said she was patting her head as hard as she could but her dad thought she wanted him to stop the boat – which he did, setting her down way, way too close to the gator. As soon as she told them why she had signalled, they pulled her up and all laughed about it. Nobody is really afraid of them but they, like me, just feel better if they are gone.
So, I’m waiting now to hear some target practice at night!!!