Hunters set out Saturday night and early Sunday morning for one last shot at nabbing an alligator in the Mobile River Delta.
It didn't take long for the gators to start coming in.
Ben Hatcher was out Saturday. He has been hunting for 7 years and says it's actually a long ordeal trying to get the gator in the boat.
"About 10:30-11:00, we started the chase, up and down, up and down..probably about a 2 hour ordeal from start to finish. 30 minutes to get him in the boat after we hooked him. Just down to the nitty gritty trying to get it done on the last night," says Hatcher.
Two hours seems to be the normal amount of time to get the gator in, but sometimes hunters are in for a surprise when the animal gets to the boat.
"Actually, when we pulled in on the boat it was still alive, so we had to do some maneuvering to make sure it wasn't," said one hunter.
Hunters took full advantage of their last opportunity to bag an alligator, staying out until the last minute when the sun rose Sunday morning-- and they were successful-- a total of 71 gators were caught this year.
"That's a good percentage, and then the weather conditions this year were a little bit dicey to say the least," says conservationist James Altiere.
But, it wasn't just the weather that affected the gators. Alligator hunting has been going on here since 2006, and the gators are getting smart.
"Yeah, a little educated, a lot of them are staying in the grassy, high tide. You can't cast, the hook gets in the grass before it gets in the gator, but they are getting a little more educated. People shining light in their eyes and they don't like it," says Hatcher.
As far as the experience goes, hunters say its like no other.
"I just like it man, you're messing with an animal that could kill you ya know. It's a beast," says one hunter.
"Comparison to deer hunting and some of the other things we do here, by far, it's awesome.. its real hair raising I have to tell you," another hunter said.
Until next year, alligators will catch a break, as hunters hope to nab a tag again in 2014.