An 18 year old from Fort Bend County has set an alligator catching record in Texas.
Braxton Bielski and his father, Troy Bielski, were among 481 applicants vying for 10 alligator permits issued through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s public hunting program for a five-day hunt at the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area. The coveted permit provides the only opportunity to hunt and harvest an alligator on Choke Canyon Reservoir, situated within the Daughtrey WMA boundary.
Braxton was on his first alligator hunt when he bagged the 800-pound, 14-foot, 3-inch gator during the public hunt.
"He’s wanted to hunt alligators for years,” said Troy, a Houston police officer who has applied annually to TPWD’s special drawing hunts for the chance to fulfill his son’s dream. Braxton grew up with a fascination about dinosaurs and a dream of hunting what many call “living dinosaurs.”
Each year, TPWD’s public hunting program provides access to some of the state’s high-quality managed wildlife habitat to about 5,500 hunters selected through random computer drawings. Wildlife management areas, state parks and leased private property are available for these supervised hunts for a variety of game, including: white-tailed deer, mule deer, pronghorn, javelina, alligator, exotics, feral hog and spring turkey.
Choke Canyon has a reputation for holding some of the biggest and oldest alligators. Unlike the alligator populations along their core range in southeast Texas, the creatures are left alone to live to a ripe old age. A 14-footer is estimated to be between 30-50 years old, according to TPWD alligator program leader Amos Cooper.
In the five years TPWD has hunted gators on the Daughtrey WMA, several huge specimens have been harvested, including two in 2011 measuring over 13-feet and another in that size class last year.
Troy also bagged a gator, but much smaller than his son’s. His catch was a female measuring 10½ feet long.