On August 28, Jim and Richie Denson, of Madison, Mississippi killed a state record alligator. They were hunting alligators in the Pearl River, approximately 5 miles north of Ross Barnett Reservoir, according to a Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDFWP) news release.
“My brother Richie and I were able to get a local legend on the boat,” Jim Denson wrote in a Facebook post. “She broke a heavy fishing rod and trap pole, but we finally got her into the boat.”
The large alligator was already known to MDFWP. The gator, which the agency named “Yellow 410,” was captured, tagged and released years ago. “We tagged this alligator on June 11, 2009, as part of a research project,” said MDWFP Alligator Program Coordinator Ricky Flynt. “At the time, the alligator also measured exactly 10 feet 2 inches and was caught within 100 yards of where they killed the Densons. [it].”
The goal of the MDWFP research project was to take biological measurements and location data on gators so they could learn more about movement patterns and growth rates when tagged gators are recaptured or killed by hunters. At the time of harvest, the Densons’ gator was 10 feet, 2 inches long — exactly the same length as in 2009. It is the Mississippi state record for a female and tied the previous record for the world’s longest wild female alligator with free range. which was measured in Florida in 1984. This record was broken in 2021 by a 10-foot, 6.75-inch female gator that was caught in Florida.
Female alligators have slower growth rates than male alligators, which can grow up to 11 feet long. In contrast, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, the average female is only 8 feet tall. “Given that knowledge and what we’ve learned from tagged alligators in the wild, it’s entirely possible that this record alligator could easily be 75-100 years old,” Flynt said. “This is definitely a world-class alligator specimen.”