Searles says Bienville has 17,000 acres of private land upon which it conducts some phosphate mining. The result of the mining is the creation of a myriad of lakes that fill up with alligators. He hunted with two licensed guides he names only as Jack and Ron. Searles says they have been hunting alligators most of their lives. In fact, Jack boasts having stopped counting at 3,000 alligators taken. Searles describes the two guides as authentic deep-woods Florida crackers who were a delight to be around.
Searles says they have alligator hunting down to a science, using a specially designed boat and customized 10-foot harpoon with a detachable head. The head is tied to a line which also has a white buoy attached. Hunting is done at night by spotting alligator eyes, then easing up to them in the boat. About half of the time, he says the `gators dove just when he was going to fling the harpoon. Despite that, he managed to kill seven.
Searles says Jack and Ron receive up to 340 state alligator permits for the property. They have taken up to 21 animals in one night, harvesting them commercially for the skins and meat. They have exclusive hunting rights at Bienville, and report having taken a 14-foot alligator (the official state record is 14 feet and 5/8 inches). One night is sufficient time to take a trophy size `gator here, meaning an animal over nine feet. Searles warns that it takes more skill than one may think to harpoon a `gator, but that anyone should be able to get the hang of it in one night and successfully take several specimens.