Gator catches residents, drivers in Liberty by surprise

LIBERTY, TX -- Alligators are making their way on shore in large numbers in Liberty.

Precinct 5 Deputy Constable David Hunter removed a 10-foot alligator from US 90 Thursday night. Local animal control officers say they routinely receive calls this time of year related to alligators near homes or roads.

Alligator hunter Buck Medley knows his way around a river and all the critters that come with it. He appears on Animal Planet and other sports networks hunting alligators around the world. He is in Liberty today, fishing on the Trinity River.

"It's April, so what's happening now is the water temperature is fairly cold, and the gators are starting to come out to sun themselves," Medley said, "so when the water temperature is cool in the morning, the gators will come out. It's called hauling out."

Medley and his partner caught a 12-foot alligator in the Trinity River last year. He says there are about 300 to 400 alligators in the river. They're coming out of hibernation and onto the shores.

Bill Givens, 82, has lived in Liberty for more than 40 years. He prefers to handle alligators at a distance, but if they come too close, he has a plan.

"If one came in my yard, I would shoot him," Givens said, "I'm a good shot, so I know what to do with it."

For people new to the area, Medley has a few tips. He says alligators can be attracted to children splashing in the water or even a small, white dog on the shore.

"You may not even know a big 12- or 13-footer alligator is watching you," Medley said. "He'll pop up 100 yards away and then if you're in the water splashing, he's gonna go under water, he's gonna go all the way till he's looking straight up three feet away, and then he's gonna lunge at you and take you out."

Medley is also a nuisance alligator hunter in his home city of San Antonio. That means animal control can call him with reports of alligators near homes or on roads.

"If I can, I try to relocate the alligators instead of taking them out," Medley said.

He advises anyone near the rivers this time of year to stay alert.

You could ream more about this story on the website of our Houston Community Newspaper partner, The Cleveland Advocate
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