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Best Handgun/Caliber for FL Alligator Defense ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Zerstoerer, May 15, 2006.

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  1. Zerstoerer

    Zerstoerer Member

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    How and where to shoot (Brain?) an Alligator?
    For those in Florida who don't want to be
    on the food chain list second from top.

    What caliber would it take - what do the wildlife people use?
    Real experiences only please, no fantasy stuff.
     
  2. Gator

    Gator Member

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    An alligators brain is about the size of a walnut, and would be an extremely difficult target if one was coming at you! Really the best thing to fend off an alligator with is a stout stick at least five feet long. I work with gators and all we use is a corn broom, but carrying a corn broom about may look a bit silly so just go with a nice walking stick. Poke it in the snout or give it a good rap on the head, but mostly use it to keep the gator away.

    Shooting a gator, anywhere other than in the brain, may just result in a very PO'd gator.

    P.S. The pros in South Africa routinely use .22 shorts to dispatch captured crocodiles. The bullet will penetrate the brain cavity, but not pass through the skull. Just goes to show that shot placement is everything.
     
  3. Mortech

    Mortech Member

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    Believe it or not , I have an Aussie friend who uses a 9MM Glock on their salt water crocs , needless to say she finds its performance 'underwhelming' and 'unreassuring' her words . Now she wants to trade me for one of my 357 Mags revolvers (It had to be on Australia's approved weapon list ) . Other wise a 12 GA shotgun loaded with slugs would be the ticket for me .
     
  4. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    1. The alligator is a federally protected species so if you shoot one be prepared to be prosecuted in federal court. You will likely have to prove that you really needed to shoot it and it's going to cost you many thousands of dollars even if you win. It will cost about five years if you lose.

    2. An alligator attack is not a liesurely thing. You generally don't have time to consider a proper response whan attacked by a gator since it happens with explosive speed so packing a handgun would probably be of little or no use. If you get attacked, that means you went too close to his hunting area and he will have the advantage of surprise. If the attack is successful and he gets ahold of you, it's very unlikely that having any sort of pistol will help. The typical attack involves grabbing the victim by a leg and quickly dragging him or her into the water. Few animals killed by crocadillians are bitten to death, they are drowned. The animal will roll and twist, thrashing the victim around to disorient him and speed up the drowning process. Picture having a 10 foot gator clamped on your lower leg. Within two seconds you're under water being spun around and slammed against the bottom and other handy submerged objects. You gonna draw that .44 Magnum and get off well aimed shots?

    3. The best gator defense is avoidance. The best way to avoid gator attacks is to not enter his hunting area. Simply stay 15 feet back from the edge of any canal, stream, pond or any other body of water where a gator might be lurking and you will have no trouble. Gators hunt right at the water's edge. They will not venture out into the Middle of a field looking for food. Those encountered away from water are migrating to a new pond and away from the water gators are easily spotted and avoided. If you shoot one you see wandering about in the open, please go back to point #1.

    Why is our first response to problems with animals always "How do I kill it?" instead of "How do I avoid the trouble?" A gator will not come looking for you. If you stay out of his "house" you will never be attacked.
     
  5. scbair

    scbair Member

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    SaxonPig, many of us carry arms for defense against large wildlife for the same reason we carry arms for defense against violent criminals. The need to use either is extremely remote, as long as we try to avoid high-risk situations. Remote, but NOT impossible!

    As I once saw posted in another forum, "No animal eats me and lives!"
     
  6. Frandy

    Frandy Member

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    Hey SaxonPig! Two thumbs up!
     
  7. Dale Taylor

    Dale Taylor Member

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    Saxon pig is beautifully correct. I live in Fl. Poachers carry a .22. A rifle to head works. daleltaylor@att.net
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    SaxonPig,

    Well said. The very idea that you'd get a shot off if attacked by a gator is just silly. If you avoided the critter's jaws you'd better be beating feet to higher ground.

    If you've got an agressive gator on your suburban property you're better off calling the police or fish and wildlife folks than bouncing rounds off the water (or it's skull) into the neighbor's back yard. If you've got rural property with such a critter then I'd expect something like a 12 guage slug or 30-30 or better is best.

    As to "we carry guns for self defense" doesn't mean that we discard awarness and knowledge because we've got a "hog leg" strapped on. We don't wander into gang territory just because we carry a gun nor should we ignorantly ignore the territory of anyother critter.
     
  9. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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    A gator will not come looking for you. If you stay out of his "house" you will never be attacked.
    Maybe I'm wrong...but doesn't most of Florida mandate that all outdoor pools have a perimeter fence...to prevent unwanted gator guests from taking a dip in suburban pools?
    Like I said, maybe I'm wrong about that...
     
  10. Justin R

    Justin R Member

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  11. tegemu

    tegemu Member

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    Another Floridian here, absolutely agreeing with and complying with Saxonpigs comments. It is my understanding that Florida law mandates swimming pool fences to attempt to keep children out of the pool.
     
  12. candr44

    candr44 Member

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    I have a pool in Florida and the fence is to prevent children from drowning.

    Gators usually stay away from people but they can be in any free flowing fresh water in Florida. Even in the city. They are also more agressive and move around more looking for new territory during mating season.

    It's best to avoid them but they have been known to get into yards and garages. They can also climb chain link fences and go after your pets. They are also suspected in the disapearance of fishermen.

    You can't always avoid them but if they catch you in the water you aren't likely to win unless someone is there to help you. On land they aren't as capable of killing as in the water.

    Like what was said above they are protected and I wouldn't shoot one unless you absolutely had to. Even then you probably won't be able to shoot it yourself if it catches you in the water. I would just learn to watch out for them and avoid them.
     
  13. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Member

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    The fence is to prevent children from drowning.
    Gotta say, that makes alot more sense. The person who told me it was about gators...well, let's just say she's not a lawyer...but she makes good cookies. :)
     
  14. carebear

    carebear Member

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    I think the proper handgun would be whichever one makes it too uncomfortable for you to sit at the edge of a canal or pond, especially one that causes pain in your legs or arms when you attempt to dangle them over the water.

    I'm not sure I'd change calibers just for gator as long as it's a "major".
     
  15. Socrates

    Socrates Member

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    HMMM. Is the threat real? How many people are mauled, or killed by gators a year? I seem to remember one person coming home, and finding an alligator under the car. Are there a lot of them?

    Sure sounds like it puts a new angle in water sports there.

    I should talk. I surf in the Red Triangle, famous for white sharks.

    S
     
  16. Rugerlvr

    Rugerlvr Member

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    Last edited: May 17, 2006
  17. MrBigStuff

    MrBigStuff Member

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    To all those that don't know

    2 people were attacked by alligators here in Florida last week. One was a very good looking young model jogging on a local path. She was killed. I just moved to Fla. 6 weeks ago and let me tell you, there are a sheit load of alligators here. From lakes to on golf coarse's ( seriously). Most of them don't seem overly aggressive but when one is near, golfing area or not, you stay away. Though, even exercising common sense, an alligator attack may come out of no where. Alligators adapt very well and travel down here in underground waterways from pond to lake to anywhere there is water.

    I anticipate alligator attacks to become much more frequent due to the unbelievable amount of " suburban sprall" here. The more humans encroach in to nature land, the more the risk for attacks.

    To answer the original question I would use/carry the strongest caliber possible that you can carry/ reasonably conceal down here given the extremely hot and humid weather. I only wear shorts and a tee-shirt and usually only carry a mouse gun, but hey it's better than nothing-maybe:D .
     
  18. swampdog

    swampdog Member

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    Somehow, I knew it was only a matter of time. :D

    Many, many years ago, as a teenager, I got the bright idea to thumb to Florida and go to work on a charter boat. I got down to Florida in around 18 hours from Va. in the middle of the night. I was supposed to meet a charter boat captain the next morning, so I decided to camp out at the rest stop my last ride dropped me at. I walked back to the wildlife fence, unrolled my air matress and jumped in my sleeping bag. All night long, I heard some kind of animals moving around down the embankment but I had no idea what they were. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. The next morning I was suprised to see all the alligators in the canal below me. I've always wondered if I'd still be around if that fence hadn't been there. I had a .22 revolver with me, but I doubt it would have done much good if I'd went down that bank.

    Florida was really great, back then. I doubt I'd even recognize it, now. A deputy sheriff gave me a ride to the marina the next morning. I imagine I would have been busted for vagrancy and a concealed weapon, nowadays.
     
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    No, it's quite uncommon and I sure don't lose sleep over it. We got gators out the wazz down here and I think the last guy I heard of killed by one was about 20 years ago. He was swimming a small lake. Rule one, don't go swimmin' with gators.

    I've duck hunted the same pothole that a gator was hanging out in during teal season and didn't get harassed. He swam out toward my deeks once and I let him have some no. 4 steel to keep my deeks safe. He didn't seem to appreciate it and went off down the slough. :D

    As was said, kill a gator out of season without a permit and you'll probably get 30 days in the electric chair...:banghead: I'd think you'd have a better chance killing a man. At least the self defense argument might hold water. :banghead:
     
  20. tegemu

    tegemu Member

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    Besides the two last week that were mentioned, in two separate places, I know of one other this year. Last week they found a Gator with a woman's arm in it's belly. I don't know whether or not it was related to one of the known incidents. I remember at least one a year for some time now. One of the major problems is people interacting with Gators, feeding etc. The gators lose their fear of man and often that precipitates an attack. It seriously against the law in Fla. to feed a Gator.
     
  21. TriggerMan

    TriggerMan Member

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    My state, Alabama is trying to get a hunting season on gators, and now that 3 women http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1962214 have been killed by gators in a week, Florida is going to have open season on them I bet. There are too many people invading the gators territory and some are going to pay the price.
     
  22. TN_shooter

    TN_shooter Member

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    Dont forget the scores of pythons (Burmese and the green anaconda?) lurking in Florida's water ways, either way swimming is definitely off my list the next time im in Florida:eek:
     
  23. Heraclid

    Heraclid Member

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    I echo the sentiments of the others who said carrying a handgun for this is not very practical. Staying away from the water is the best policy. Any inland body of water in Florida may contain alligators. Assume they are there.

    I am in a line of work that brings me into contact with them regularly. This often involves walking into the water in rubber boots or stooping at the edge to scoop up water. Entering their strike zone is part of the daily routine. Our company has guys doing this stuff all day every day all over the state and has for 30 years. Believe it or not, no one has ever been attacked by an alligator, and much more amazing to me, never been tagged by a snake either. We get way, way, way more exposure to it than just about anybody, so there's some perspective for you. A guy drowned once and there have been ATV and airboat accidents, but not one alligator grab.

    There are various things I do to minimize the chances of an attack, but for the great majority of folks, staying clear of the water's edge is pretty failsafe. And keep anything important to you away too. I have been amazed with people tossing things into the water as part of a game of fetch with their dog, or with small children allowed to play in risky places. On a side note, I spotted over 20 cottonmouths in one lake within about 1 hour, and there appeared to be a nesting area with several just 6 or 7 lots down from where I saw several children running around barefoot in the backyard, near the water. I promptly stopped the boat and got their mother's attention and told her what I'd been seeing!

    As a side note, people swimming in places other than the safety of a swimming pool take on another serious risk, which I call "mucking in". It is easy to get your feet caught in the right sedimentary soup and get yourself trapped and continue to sink. You had better believe there are times you cannot pull your feet free when it is halfway up a 15" or so boot. Imagine being in to your waist. You're not going anywhere. A construction worker here in Jacksonville died that way about a year ago. He thought it would be a good way to cool off on a really hot day.

    Anyway, as alligators go, generally I have not found them to be aggressive toward me. Mostly they just want to get away. Yes, they do like to follow you around some times, but they keep their distance for the most part. I believe the following behavior is from curiousity, but I still always remind myself that it would be foolish to present them with any opportunities, because they may take one if it is given.

    I have had a few that simply will not move and when I bring the boat around I corner them when I pass by. I have had occasions where I could reach out and touch some of those. None of those made a threat display when cornered. However, when on foot, I have had a few get testy and give me warnings. What they have done is get kinda close and make a loud splash, submerge, and pop up to watch me from a few feet farther out. Once this happened very close and behind me and a bit to the side, so that I barely caught it with the peripheral vision. That one could have had me had it wanted to. Although it wasn't a large gator, do not think that a smallish gator cannot beat you in its own element.

    They are indeed very common on golf courses. I often treat golf course properties. Just recently I motored around the bend to the boat trailer and maybe 50 ft from the trailer I interrupted two of them trying to make more alligators. :)

    I take them seriously. I do what I can to avoid confrontation. However, I am many times over more concerned with cottonmouths than I ever will be with alligators. Alligators generally move away and often make themselves known (if you get used to looking). A cottonmouth will, more often than not, hold its ground and let you walk right on top of it.

    I heard one of the victims recently was a female jogger in her 20's, in the Gainesville area I believe. I can tell you that Lake Ashley at the University of Florida is chock full of them. Haven't seen all the details, but I wonder if it was around there.
     
  24. carebear

    carebear Member

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    The most recent young lady jogger was the owner of the arms that were found.

    The last witness sighting of her had her sitting in the shade under a bridge dangling her feet over the canal the gator was found in.

    So, she was "out jogging" but probably wasn't actually run down by the gator but rather was attacked/grabbed while sitting/resting near the water and dragged in.
     
  25. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    For a pistol that can be carried practically? 10mm. With 180 gr. FMJ, it will penetrate nearly as deep as the big magnums (.454, .50, etc) but without the recoil (or the oversized guns that fire such cartidges) and having twice the capacity. Not that I've ever gone after them, but the key thing with Crocodilians seems to be penetration through their very tough skin.
     
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