Record-breaking alligator on display for the monthPublished 10:52pm Wednesday, July 25, 2012
For the next month, visitors to the Central Alabama Farmer’s Co-Op will have a chance to see something that is truly one of a kind.
From now until Sept. 1, the state record “Fancher Gator” will be on display at the Co-Op.
“The Fancher Gator” was caught by the team of Keith Fancher, Mike and Destin Bailey, J.C. and Stacey Peeples, and David and Mindy Hatchett during the area’s first ever participation in alligator hunting season last year.
The gator weighed in at a state record 14-feet, 2-inches and 838 pounds and was caught on the Alabama River in Wilcox County on Aug. 11.
Tim Wood, owner of the Central Alabama Farmer’s Co-Op, said having the gator on display in Selma will attract a lot of visitors after it attracted more than 3,000 people to the Gee’s Bend Ferry Terminal during its stop in Camden.
“There’s no question it’s going to attract people from miles and miles away,” Wood said. “They had it down in Camden in a remote area, and they had over 3,000 visitors. We think it’s going to be great for the community. We think people are going to be traveling from a long ways to see one of kind. That’s what it is — it’s the largest ever in the state. It’s neat to have it at the store.”
The gator will be on display during the Co-Op’s store hours — 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
James “Big Daddy” Lawler, host of ‘Getting Outdoors with Big Daddy Lawler” on WJDB 95.5, said Selma is just one of many stops for the gator.
“He’s making the rounds now. He’s been in Wilcox County since May and over 3,000 visitors have visited the Gee’s Bend Ferry Terminal to see him,” Lawler said, “and now he’ll be up here until Sept. 1 and I don’t know where he’ll go from there, but we’re going to tour him all around the state of Alabama.”
Lawler will be hosting his show from the Co-Op from 7:30-9 a.m. during a time when this year’s gator hunters will be preparing for the start of the season.
“This weekend, they’re having the mandatory alligator education school here at the Central Alabama Farmer’s Co-Op for the 50 lucky guys that drawed a tag this year on the Alabama River,” Lawler said. “Now, I understand, it was over 20,000 applications made for the tags — 6,000 of them for the Alabama River — but only 50 were given, and all of those guys will be in Selma this weekend to make the mandatory class, and that’s why we wanted to have it here, so they can see what they’re going after.”
Sgt. Allan Roach, with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said he expects this year’s alligator hunting season, which will run Aug. 16-18 and 23-25 in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and west central Alabama, to be a big event.
“I think it’ll be bigger because the record gator came from this area and there’s a lot of people interested in catching a new state record,” Roach said. “Last year, there was a lot interest, not only with the people who were trying to catch alligators who were issued tags last year, but there was a lot of people out watching. The river fills with boats of people trying to watch the alligator hunting.”