With hunting season fully underway this fall, hunters across the country are enjoying the great outdoors and making memories that will last a lifetime.
One of the most important parts of hunting culture is swapping hunting stories with friends and family. Even two strangers who both hunt can immediately find common ground once they start sharing hunting stories.
It’s hard to imagine anyone this year will have a wilder hunting story than the Minnesota man who shot a hell of a buck and an alligator on the opening day of gun season last year, though, so let’s revisit that story.
Alligators populations are doing quite well across the southern U.S., but Minnesota certainly is not part of their home range. However, an alligator is precisely what Corey Klocek stumbled upon while deer hunting in Minnesota last fall.
According to Fox News, he was tracking a nice buck he had just shot when he crossed paths with a 3-foot gator.
At first, he thought some of his hunting buddies were playing a trick on him and assumed the reptile had to be rubber. Then it started moving, and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
He phoned up one of his friends, who happened to be a game warden. That warden told him that gators were considered invasive in Minnesota and that the species was not protected and told him to shoot it.
Shoot it, he did, and now he’s got one of the most amazing hunting pictures ever to prove it.
After he shot the gator, he immediately called his wife to share his wild hunting story with her, and she told him she wanted a new gator skin purse.
It would take a much bigger gator to make her wishes come true, but at the time, Klocek said he planned on getting the buck mounted with the stuffed gator propped up in its antlers.
That’s sure to be one of the most unique taxidermy pieces of all time, and he’s got a great story to go along with it.
Well… this was a first for me… Great Minnesota gun opener… Odd Minnesota opener…. this morning I harvested a beautiful 10 point buck, this was my first ever deer with a shotgun, as I am usually a rifle hunter (different zone, different regs).
As I’m walking around a pond, tracking my deer, I look down to see a 3 foot alligator 10 feet in front of me. After contacting the game warden, I was informed I could shoot it. No clue how it got there, or why. I
‘m guessing someone had it as a pet and released it when it got too big. Either way, only in 2020 can you go out to sit for deer gun season opener in Minnesota and shoot an alligator. I’m still at a loss of words lol. Legit speechless. The plan is to mount them together in a fun taxidermy piece.”
In all likelihood, the gator was probably someone’s pet who grew too large for its aquarium or enclosure or too aggressive to remain in the house, so they simply dumped it into a nearby body of water.
Though not particularly common, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirmed that they sometimes receive gator reports, which are almost always freed pets.
When the story first went public, there was some considerable outcry from people online, but the DNR released a statement in defense of his decision to dispatch the animal and reminded people that the upcoming Minnesota winter would have undoubtedly killed the cold-blooded animal anyways.
“We don’t know the background of this particular animal, but the DNR from time to time receives reports of reptiles such as alligators and caimans in Minnesota. These often turn out to be pets that were turned loose or escaped from their owners.”
“We urge people not to do this, for several reasons: these animals are not native to Minnesota and would be unable to survive the winter, which is right around the corner. In addition, we don’t want these invasive animals to disrupt our native ecosystem.
Rather, people who have pets that are too big should consider surrendering them, if possible.”