A group of hunters have smashed the Mississippi state record for the largest alligator ever caught.
The 727 pound reptile, which took two hours to kill and six to reel in, was amateur hunter Dustin Bockman’s very first catch.
The male animal was captured and killed on Sunday, the third day of the 10-day long alligator hunting season in Mississippi, which permits a group of hunters to cull the species.
Dustin Bockman, one of the men responsible for hauling in the creature, said that after hooking the animal the team had to wait two hours to get a clear enough shot to kill the animal using a crowbow.
Bockman said his team struggled for nearly six hours to get the alligator into the boat after it died. Reinforcements were called in to assist.
“He broke all the lines we could get in him,” said the hunter.
He added: "Tired, hungry, we’d been pulling on a 700lb ‘gator for four hours, and we really needed a nap at that point."
Bockman said he planned to eat the animal and use the its skin for a picture frame and gunstrap.
“We're going to cook it for sure. There's plenty for me and everybody else."
Ricky Flynt, coordinator of the alligator hunting programme in Mississippi, said in a website statement that the hunting season was necessary because: “As human developments (residential and commercial) continue to encroach into more rural areas of the state, increased interaction and conflicts with wildlife are subject to occur.”