Illegal alligator hunting case called "disturbing" - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Illegal alligator hunting case called "disturbing"

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Startling new evidence is released in an illegal alligator hunting investigation. State wildlife officials gave WLBT News photographs taken during and after the arrest of four young men Saturday around midnight.

All four suspects were released on a two thousand dollar bond after being booked into the Lawrence County jail. Two have confessed to hunting alligators out of season.

The evidence is disturbing; an alligator with its head and tail skillfully removed, meat carved out of the tail. The photographs were taken by conservation officers. According to Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks spokesman Jim Walker, the men were spotted after a tip to the agency paid off. "This is just no way to do the sports, it's tragic and we are going for the maximum when they have their day in court."

Alligator carcasses had been spotted along the Pearl river. Officers pulled over a suspicious vehicle August 27. They noticed bloody clothing. The headless remains of an alligator was in the back. The Wesson home of Christian Collins was searched and several items were recovered, along with alligator tail meat.

Walker said, "There was numerous items confiscated, which you will have pictures of that, were used in killing this gator, quite possibly the taking of many more alligators. You are going to have those types from time to time and they were out there and they got caught."

Among the items confiscated, 22 rifles, flashlights and large alligator sets with hooks and buoys. One suspect was taken back to the Pearl River. That's where conservation officers found a startling find. Hooks tied from trees.

According to Corporal Craig Walker, "The sets are setup in a tree on a limb and suspended about six to seven inches above the water with a chicken on it. And the gator comes up and grabs the chicken and swallows it and the hook catches." This method of alligator hunting is strictly illegally in Mississippi, according to conservation officers.

Meanwhile, warnings are going out and tips are coming in about illegal pouching of gators before the season officially begins September 9th.

To report illegal hunting or fishing, call in your tips to 1-800-BE SMART.

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