Walters takes a very different approach to `gator hunting than his competitors in other states such as Louisiana and Texas. What he does different is take completely free-ranging animals without any assistance from bait or hook. Moreover, he takes them with a spear.
Gator Guides' hunters use a 5½-foot fiberglass pole topped with a steel sleeve and detachable barbed point to harpoon their quarry. The tip connects to a 600-pound test line with floats. The process of taking a `gator with this equipment is quite simple. All you have to do is make an accurate throw at a football-size target (a `gator head) from a moving airboat with enough force to penetrate the thick hide of an animal that could eat you. Oh yeah, and you need to do this at night.
The hunt is conducted after sunset with the aid of a spotlight. As the light is swept over the surface, the red glow of saurian eyes stands out clearly against the black water. When the spot is made, the airboat moves in for a closer look, and that is when the rodeo begins. Balancing on the front of the boat, the hunter prepares to strike. If the `gator is deemed large enough, Walters yells for the throw. Often as not, the "flattie" submerges before presenting a good shot opportunity. Eventually, though, one makes a mistake, and the fight is on.
Walters offers three different hunts and price structures. First, for those who do not want to go through the trouble of trying to draw a tag through the lottery and who are willing to hunt public land, Gator Guides provides a public-water hunt during the September 1 through October 7 season.........(continued)