I hope that most of you gator hunters in the Southeast have your gators by now. A video in an earlier post describes alligator hunting and cleaning, but I have a few things to add about knives.
Alligator hunting is one of the few sports where the actual kill is made by driving a stout knife between the skull and backbone and severing the spinal cord. Even with its brain blown to mush, the gator can “come back to life” and still be powerful enough to chomp off a limb or swamp a boat.
Among others, Jim Zumbo had an incident in Africa where a 14
footer revived in a 14-foot boat and caused considerable excitement. For a killing knife I prefer a stout Bowie-style blade. This has enough “prick” on the point to work between the backbone and skull and sufficient blade strength to do the job.
Gator skinning and cleaning is best done with flexible sharp knives. Here
the less point the better. It is a real chore to get the hide off one of the critters, and a task to do so without making as many holes in it as you make cuts.
Wash your critter down with Clorox-water and dishwashing soap to kill as many surface bacteria as possible before starting. It also helps to inflate the space between the hide and the carcass with an air hose to help break the hide free from the animal.
There are verbal descriptions and photos in my books Crossbow Hunting and Practical Bowfishing. See more about them at www.hoveysmith.com.
Bowie knife furnished by Buck Knives.