Texas teen bags state record alligator
Braxton Bielski didn't have a 5-pound bass on his mind when he recently took his cane pole to a reservoir in south Texas.
Instead, he and his father were looking to bag a big alligator. They weren't disappointed.
Bielski, 18, caught an 800-pound, 14-foot, 3-inch specimen, the largest to be certified in Texas.
"He's wanted to hunt alligators for years," Troy Bielski said of his son, according to a statement from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Braxton, a high school senior, went on his first alligator hunt at Choke Canyon Reservoir in the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area.
The Bielskis were among 481 applicants vying for 10 alligator permits for the public hunt.
After undergoing an orientation, father and son placed their baited lines near a large gator they spied in a cove.
"When the two hunters returned the next morning, they realized they had their work cut out as both lines were down indicating they had two alligators hooked," the wildlife department said. "A hook and line set baited with raw meat is used to catch the alligator; only after it has been hooked can a gator be dispatched at close range with a firearm."
Braxton caught the gator on May 7. His father is a Houston police officer.
Some may wonder whether there is something in the water at Choke Canyon Reservoir that makes for such a behemoth.
Actually, the area is relatively new to gator hunting and most are left alone to live to old age. Braxton's catch may have been as old as 50, officials said.