Cypress Lake Airboat Rides and Eco Tours - Central Florida  
Airboat Rides and Eco Tours
 
Click Here for some exciting Gator Tales!
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Close Encounters of the Gator Kind

Close Encounters !!

Just how close do you want to get?
 
     

     
 

Bald Eagle Rescued

We found her with a broken wing and transported her to the Audubon rehab in Orlando. She was first seen during a tour by one of our guests who just happened to be a veterinarian. She was rescued by Joe Gerowitz and Captain Doug.
 
     
 
 

 

 

Where Are They Now?
A Tale of Three Gators

 

When people see our gator heads, Lucky I, Lucky II, and Lucky III, many questions arise about their former lives, the process they went through to get to this point, and of course, their demise. So in order to answer these questions we thought we’d share the tale of our three gators…be sure to read the Fun Facts at the end.

Lucky I, the 12’2” alligator, was first observed by a friend during an airboat ride just days before the opening of gator hunting season. Because of his size, Captain Doug knew that Lucky I had lived a good long life, approximately 50-60 years, and ate a healthy diet of mammals, fish, birds, and smaller alligators. Capt. Doug discovered his home, a gator hole in the marsh, and kept an eye on Lucky I until that fateful night.

Around 7:00 one evening, Capt. Doug and his wife took their airboat, gator bait, hunting equipment, and a cooler full of snacks and drinks to the lake in which Lucky I resided. After much waiting, a couple of short naps, and more waiting, Lucky I finally took the bait (around 4:00 in the morning)! He did not come to the boat gracefully, and in fact the whole scene reminded Doug’s wife of an old Jaws movie. And after much struggle, waiting, a little more struggle, and more waiting, Lucky I was the recipient of Capt. Doug’s first alligator hunting tag of the season.

Tied up next to the boat, they proudly towed their trophy, body surfing style, to a shallow part of the marsh earning a few glances from early rising fishermen. It was then that Capt. Doug and his 100 pound wife realized that they hadn’t thought ahead as to how to get Lucky I onto their boat. With a quick phone call (thank God for cell phones), another couple came to their rescue. Amazingly, but not easily, three of them were able to lift the 800 pound alligator onto the airboat one body part at a time. Upon arrival at the fish camp they received several accolades. Lucky I even posed with other airboaters and their family members for pictures.

Around 7:00am the next morning, Capt. Doug took his truck and Lucky I, riding in the airboat on the trailer, to the alligator processing plant in Christmas, FL. One of Lucky’s dangling arms appeared to wave to the crowd as traffic stopped and onlookers gawked at the one float parade going by. After approximately six weeks, Lucky’s hide was shipped to Italy for the tanning process, Lucky’s tail was sent to restaurants, and Lucky’s head was picked up by Capt. Doug and now sits on a sofa table in their living room. As you can see, Lucky I now enjoys all of the holidays at his home and has been visited by many guests that he might have otherwise eaten.

 

Lucky II and Lucky III

Lucky II and Lucky III, the 11’10” and 11’2” alligators were a breeze to capture compared to Lucky I! It all started out as a late evening cook-out for Capt. Doug and his wife on their friend’s property by the shore of the lake on which they’d be hunting. With the airboat geared up and ready, Capt. Doug began the grilling as his wife and friend chatted and watched the sunset.

As the stars and moon revealed their power to conquer darkness, Capt. Doug was making his magic with a few steaks and beans over a camp fire. Before the steaks were thoroughly cooked, Doug’s wife noticed movement in the water near them. Sure enough, two large gators had smelled Doug’s delicious steaks as well, and were coming for dinner. Knowing this behavior was atypical for alligators, as alligators have a natural fear of humans, it was apparent to Capt. Doug that someone had been feeding these alligators. Although feeding alligators is against the law, it sure made Capt. Doug’s night of gator hunting easy.

Doug took a short break from his grilling, tossed out some bait along the shore’s edge in a few spots, and then went back to grilling. As the three sat eating their steaks and beans, they watched each gator approach, gobble down the bait, then swim away. Easy as pie! After dinner and a quick clean up, Capt. Doug and his wife set out on the airboat to see just how big these gators were. That’s when they noticed that another piece of bait had also been devoured! Because they only had two hunting tags on this lake, they now had the fete of choosing the two largest of the three…one of them would be set free.

After a few hours of pulling the gators close to the boat in order to get a good look at their heads, it was determined that one of them was around 10 foot and the others were around 11 feet. After securing the two eleven-footers, the ten-footer was cut loose and probably happy to get a free meal. By this hunting season, Capt. Doug had figured out how to get the gators onto the trailer without having to lift them themselves. This was wise on his part, since his wife was the same size as the previous hunting season and his friend was 79 years old.

 After they were secured on the trailer, the alligators took a quick trip to Capt. Doug’s house to meet his dogs, which barked and sniffed them in fear. Then they went up to Christmas, FL to the processing plant per protocol. Again, after a few weeks, their hides went to Italy for tanning and their tails went to restaurants. This time, however, Lucky II’s head went to Cypress Lake Fish Camp for all Capt. Doug’s airboat tour guests to visit and Lucky III’s head went to the Cypress Springs Elementary science teacher for students to view and learn about alligators.

So now that you know the tale of our three gators, be sure to visit Lucky II and give him a special greeting when you come to ride on the best airboat tour in Central Florida with Cypress Lake Airboat Tours! He looks forward to seeing you.


 

A FEW ALLIGATOR HUNTING FACTS:

  1. You may not kill alligators using a gun or a hook.
  2. You may only kill alligators between sunset and sunrise.
  3. The Florida state record for length is a 14 foot 5/8 inch male out of Lake Monroe.
  4. The Florida state record for weight is a 1,043 pound male from Orange Lake.
  5. Since 1988, Florida’s statewide alligator harvest has been nationally and internationally recognized as a model program for the sustainable use of a natural resource.

A FEW ALLIGATOR PROCESSING FACTS:

  1. The alligators are skinned then their skin goes through a tanning process.
  2. The prime part of the hide is the belly. The legs and tail are not ordinarily graded.
  3. The alligator is touched by more than 20 pairs of hands on its journey from Marsh to Market. The leather making process takes several months from start to finish, but it is only one stage in a trade that involves hunters, farmers, graders, legislators, designers, manufacturers, importers, exporters, marketers, and retailers.
  4. While the tail meat is the most popular portion to eat, all meat from the alligator is edible.
  5. Alligator meat is low in fat and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, Vitamin B12, and high quality protein.
  6. For alligator meat recipes go to http://www.alligatorfur.com/alligator/recipes.htm.

A FEW FUN FACTS ABOUT ALLIGATORS:

  1. Female alligators rarely exceed 9 feet in length.
  2. Mating occurs in May or June and hatching occurs in late August or early September.
  3. Females build a mound nest of soil, vegetation, or debris and deposit an average of 32-46 eggs.
  4. Out of the 35 eggs, only 6 alligator hatchlings will live to one year and only 4 will become mature adults.
  5. A 12 foot alligator can easily eat a 7 foot alligator.

 

 
 
 
 


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