2013-08-01 / Front Page

Alligator Captured In Shade Gap

Catch of a lifetime turned over to PFBC
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz


Fishermen Issac Hamman (l to r), Zach Price, Krystal Pearce and Ron Parson pose with a 5-foot gator they netted in Shade Creek over the weekend. The group believes it's possible their catch had been someone's pet before it got too large to handle and was released into the wild. Fishermen Issac Hamman (l to r), Zach Price, Krystal Pearce and Ron Parson pose with a 5-foot gator they netted in Shade Creek over the weekend. The group believes it's possible their catch had been someone's pet before it got too large to handle and was released into the wild. NEWS EDITOR

What was supposed to be a leisurely evening spent fishing creekside in southern Huntingdon County, turned out to be a situation only seen here on reality television.

On Sunday, Isaac Hamman, Ron Parson, Krystal Pearce and Zach Price, all of Shade Gap, ventured past the local firehall around 6 p.m. to do a little fishing in Shade Creek. Unfortunately for the foursome, the dry weather had left the creekbed low, causing them to move upstream in search of a deeper, more suitable fishing hole.

Parson, 22, told the “News” he spotted what he thought was the tail of a large pike moving through the water. Parson resorted to worms and then corn to try and hook his catch. Not having any luck, he moved around to get a better view of the fish that had taken refuge under a tree lying across the creek.

Much to the group’s surprise, the suspected pike turned out to be much more than a big fish.

“We all turned and just looked at each other,” said Parson of the 5-foot alligator. “We just couldn’t believe it. Something like that doesn’t happen every day. We just knew we had to catch it.”

Armed only with their fishing poles, some bait and a net, the group maneuvered into the water to guide the alligator into the net. Once it began to turn, they scooped and hoisted up their catch.

Parson said the alligator was quickly turning its head trying to snap at them. Lucky for them, reality television, like “Gator Boys” and “Swamp People,” provided them with enough background information on how they should take care of the animal while protecting themselves.

With Pearce heading out to get some duct tape, Parson said they got behind the alligator and straddled its back to subdue it. With its mouth properly taped, the alligator was loaded into the bed of a truck and kept overnight until officials from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) were able to retrieve it.

According to Parson, once contact was established with PFBC, the state officials didn’t quite know how to respond about their catch of a lifetime. As alligators aren’t part of a waterways conservation officers typical day on the job, the alligator was transported to another location and could possibly wind up in a zoo or similar facility.

Parson said PFBC officers said they would contact them with information regarding the alligator’s permanent home.

It’s possible the alligator had been raised as someone’s pet, got too large for them to handle and was released into the waters of southern Huntingdon County, Parson added.

Doubtful he will ever encounter another alligator outside of a zoo-like facility, Parson said the situation was ironic as he doesn’t fish very often but was prompted to head out with his friends and family to enjoy Sunday’s beautiful weather.

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