We hunted near Okeechobee, Florida, with a young outfitter named Capp Williams. A native to South Florida, he has been hunting `gators for about 20 years and has worked out a system that allows you the thrill of spotting, then stalking within 10 yards of your prey. These hunts take place out of a 19-foot aluminum Jonboat that Williams has rigged with a 70hp outboard and a trolling motor. He places two coolers in the bow as seats, one for himself and one for the hunter.
Williams' partner guides the boat while he sits in front, shining a red-hued headlamp along the edges of a lake, river or reservoir. Why a red light? He says it doesn't produce as much glare and that the `gators aren't as likely to dodge it. When he spots an alligator, Williams keeps it just outside the edge of the light and gets in close enough to judge how large the animal is.
Once he determines that the `gator meets his hunter's trophy requirements, Williams sets up the stalk. Using the trolling motor and just barely keeping the light on the quarry, Williams angles the boat toward the alligator. As in all big game hunting, quietness is essential. Even a hushed word or a soft thunk on the bottom of the boat will make a `gator dive out of arrow shot.
When the boat is within 30 yards of the animal, Williams leans........(continued)