by Bret Amundson
Just the name conjures up images involving dark, murky swamps in the south, giant teeth and horror movies. So when I heard that Mandy Uhrich would be going to South Carolina to hunt them, I thought she was crazy. And I was jealous.
You may have read the story about it in this past weekend’s Brainerd Dispatch newspaper. If not, we can fill you in. Uhrich is a wildlife biologist with the Minnesota DNR. She has also spent time as a hunting and fishing guide and spends many weekends in the summer in the Brainerd area fishing various tournaments.
She’s no stranger to hunting big game in other states and has spent her entire life in the outdoors. After spending a few minutes you realize that despite her diminutive frame, she welcomes big challenges with open arms. What she doesn’t know about the outdoors, she wants to learn. And when the chance to be up close and personal with alligators came around, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
This wasn’t a gator hunt like you’d see on Swamp People. This was a land management hunt with a commercial private lands manager. Each private property is issued a specific number of tags based on the acreage of water and what the estimated sustainable alligator numbers are. They’re not there to completely eliminate the alligators from the properties but instead implement a commercial hunt that takes a percentage to help keep the population in check. It also eliminates large nuisance gators that have the potential to harm people and pets at the same time.
She totaled 6 gators that she’d pull from the snare, tie their jaws shut, wrap their legs and dispatch. The largest would be over 11 feet long! One of the biggest the locals had seen and a giant predator no matter where you’re from.
Uhrich brought home the gator meat and has enjoyed it on the grill. With a taste ranging from chicken to pork and lots of it, there could be a lot of backyard barbecues in her future and plenty to talk about while they’re going on.