UPS Driver Dustin Bockman and Crew Break Alligator Record
After roaming the waters of the Mississippi River all night, Local 891 member Dustin Bockman delivered a new record to the state of Mississippi. Bockman, a UPS Teamster, broke the record for heaviest alligator ever captured in Mississippi. During the first weekend of the season on his first-ever alligator hunt, he nabbed a 727-pound gator.
“My friends were just like, ‘Oh my God, it's so huge,’ You couldn't fold him in half to put him in a truck,” Bockman said.
After five hours of searching the inky black river, Dustin Bockman, his brother Ryan Bockman (also a Local 891 Teamster) and friend Cole Landers finally caught sight of the 727-pound animal.
The team gave chase for more than two hours. Occasionally, the alligator would sink to the bottom of the muddy river to evade Bockman’s crew. The trio would then turn off the boat to drift silently down the river, waiting to see gator’s eyes as he resurfaced. When they saw a tell-tale glint, the hunt would start again. And again.
Finally around 3 a.m., they managed to tether it to a fishing pole and then a snare. The fishing line broke. Bockman’s team managed to get another line around the alligator. It also broke. After two hours and more snapped lines, Dustin Bockman finally ended the chase with a shot from a crossbow.
“You see all the shows on TV and they don't do it justice,” Bockman said. “You don't see how strong they are until you get up close.”
Delivering the Prize
At 13 feet, 4 inches, their catch was almost the size of the team’s boat. After three hours straining to haul the animal aboard, they gave up and called in reinforcements. Although the crew had warned their friends about their alligator’s size, even they did not quite understand how large the crocodilian was.
“We didn't have a tape measure on the boat,” Bockman said. “When we got it home, that's when we realized we had a monster.”
State wildlife authorities confirmed Bockman’s new record four hours after another record-breaking hopeful had hauled back a 723.5-pound catch.
Bockman plans to hand out most of the alligator meat to friends and cook the rest himself.