We’re taking a look back at one of the biggest gators ever ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ. Mandy Stokes, a mother of two from Alabama, ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ the SCI world-record gator in 2014, and the feat ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴs just as impressive today. Here’s the full story behind that record-breaking reptile.
Stokes is a lifelong deer and hog ʜᴜɴᴛᴇʀ. But gator ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ was a new interest. In fact, she ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ her world record, verified by Safari Club International, on her very first gator hunt. The American alligator she tagged on Aug. 16, 2014, measured 15 feet 9 inches long, and weighed 1,011.5 pounds, besting the former SCI record—a 14-foot 8-inch gator ᴋɪʟʟᴇᴅ in Chalk Creek, Texas, in 2008.
Stokes’s trophy is currently on display at Millers Ferry Powerhouse on the Alabama River in Camden, Ala. “He’s a sight to be seen,” Stokes says. “This is the truth: Every time I see that alligator mount, I say to myself, ‘How in the world did we do that?’ It really is remarkable.”
“I don’t really know how to describe it,” Stokes said of reaction to the monster ɢᴀᴛᴏʀ. “It just went nuts. John and I have a daughter that is three and a son that’s one, so we kind of have a full-time job with that. I think the whole world record potential is what’s really got people stirred up.
“I never expected to be a celebrity in any way, but I sure never dreamed it would be from gator ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ.”
It took Mandy and her family members, namely husband John Stokes, brother-in-law Kevin Jenkins and his children Savannah and Parker, over five hours to ᴄᴀᴘᴛᴜʀᴇ the alligator, Al.com reported in August 2014.
Mandy Stokes told the website at the time the crew went through a range of emotions as they first staked the animal, before ʙᴀᴛᴛʟɪɴɢ it, then ᴋɪʟʟɪɴɢ it and finally sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ to take it back to shore.
“He came up just as calm as he could” Mandy Stokes told AL.com last August. “That’s the only thing on Swamp People that’s true. When I pulled the trigger this time, water just ᴇxᴘʟᴏᴅᴇᴅ on all of us.”
When they finally got the beast back to dry land, he was so big that he crushed the winch system normally used by Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries biologists. In the end, a backhoe had to be brought in to lift the reptile and weigh it.
Upon opening the alligator, it was found to contain the ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴs of a 3-year-old doe deer, sᴡᴀʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ whole and weighing around 100 pounds, two squirrels, a duck, and ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴs of a cow or calf.
Realizing that this alligator was extra special as far as its size, SCI Master Measurers John Chitwood and Randall Bush were contacted to officially measure the reptile. Turns out, the gator was better than “really nice.” It was the world’s largest, setting the record at 15 feet 9 inches long, and weighing 1,011.5 pounds.