A Houston teenager is celebrating quite a catch.
Braxton Bielski, 18, now has the distinction of hunting and bagging a 800-pound, 14-foot-2-inch alligator during a public hunt on the James E. Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area.
According to a news release issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Bielski grew up with a fascination of dinosaurs and always wanted to hunt what some call the "living dinosaurs."
"He's wanted to hunt alligators for years," said his father, Troy Bielski, a Houston police officer.
And on his first hunt, he set a new Texas record.
The father-and-son team set up their traps on Choke Canyon.
"We spent a lot of time scouting some of the pastures in the compartment we were assigned, looking for likely spots to set our lines," Troy Bielski said.
The duo saw what they believed to be a very large gator in a cove.
"We didn't pressure it but, while we were putting up our cane poles, we could see it watching us 30 yards away," Braxton Bielski said.
The next morning, they had actually trapped two gators. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Troy Bielski's gator turned out to be huge female alligator measuring longer than 10 feet. Braxton Bielski was right next to his father with the 14-footer.
The Houston teenager and his father got just one of 10 alligator permits that were issued for people to hunt for gators in the Daughtrey WMA. They are allowed to hunt for a five-day period.
The hunters issued the permits must also undergo an intensive orientation process.
"We went through a two-hour orientation, and it was very thorough," Braxton Bielski said. "My dad did a lot of research online about alligator hunting, and we asked a lot of questions."
The Bielskis' weren't the only hunters with success during the hunt.
"We only have five, 10 hunters out during these drawn hunts, and most of them are new to alligator hunting, so I try to stay in close touch with them," said Chris Mostyn, Daughtrey WMA area manager. "I tell them to have a strategy in place because they may have to haul a big one out. Turns out we had four gators taken that morning; it was wild. The Bielskis did a good job."