Setting up a bow and equipment for alligator hunting takes a little more preparation than setting up a bow for deer hunting. Hunting gators for the first time is also a learning curve. Here is a list of my equipment and a few lessons learned on my first gator hunt.
Muzzy Gator Getter Kit: Muzzy went all out to provide the strongest reel, arrows, points and line all in one kit. Also included is two yellow floats and float mounts that mount in your bow’s stabilizer hole. In addition we used Muzzy’s water activated Gator Getter strobe lights that attach to the buoys. The big game floats are yellow and easy to see on the water surface. The strobe lights can be seen under water but we never had one pulled under by the gators on this trip. In addition to the 22/64″ aluminum Gator Getter arrows in the kit, Muzzy sent me solid carbon 22/64″ Gator Getter arrows with detachable Gator points. I used the carbon arrow and got complete penetration on my gator. I shot my gator through the neck and Muzzy’s tough point actually broke the gator’s neck as it continued on through the gator.
Bow: PSE X-Force. This is gator hunting. I took the advice of the US Army “Be all you can be.” I enjoy shooting this bow. It has great speed, a flat trajectory and masses of foot pounds of energy. This bow is a short 33 inches from axle to axle, perfect for alligator hunting. I equipped it with a PSE Eclipse 2-piece quiver. This quiver mounts on each end of the riser leaving room for the sight and Pro reel to be mounted together.
Arrow Rest: For an arrow rest I used the Whisker Biscuit Bow Fishing rest. It is like a regular Whisker Biscuit but has stiff bristles all the way around to hold the heavy arrows in place.
Release: I chose the Tru-Fire Hurricane Buckle Fold Back release. I have used Tru-Fire releases for years and never had a misfire or broken release. I shoot with a release loop on my string. This is an easy release to load even in the dark. I always carry two of the same release just in case I loose one or leave my release in the lodge. My spare is always in my backpack.
Advice For Alligator Bow Hunters:
Take bug spray. The mosquitoes were bad. We got swarmed after dark. I didn’t have any problems in the air boat. With the engine running and boat moving the mosquitoes could not land on us.
I used Scorpion Venom Polymeric Bowstring Fluid on my bow string and cables. I used it every day along with Biscuit Spray. Spraying this on my rest lets my arrows slide through the rest with less resistance.
Use a fiber-optic sight and sight light. Most of our hunting was after dark. It is a must to see your pins for a perfect shot. Here is another trick. PSE sells a Glo Ring. It is stuck on your sight pin guard and glows after dark. It really helped with night-time shooting. Take extra batteries for your sight light.
Take the best hand held flashlight you can afford. I used a Streamlight Super Tactical flash light. It is very compact and came with a pouch I attached to my belt. It really lit up the gators eyes from hundreds of yards away. It is a great spotlight for lighting up the gator at night, not only for a good shot but to also keep track of the arroweded gator.
Always know where the gator’s mouth is!
I also used a brim LED light on my cap. It is great for hands free work on bow and equipment. It takes two hands to reel up your line.
We switched our line from 600# test to 400# test. We sometimes had shots at gators on the far side of the canals. This line has less drag and afforded longer shots with a flatter trajectory. It also spooled easier and quicker.
The Gator Getter Kit did not come with safety slides for the arrows. The arrows in the kit are 22/64 outside diameter. Muzzy offers a slide for these arrows. This slide keeps the line in front of your bow and arrow rest at all times. It is hard enough to keep track of the line when a gator is approaching. The safety slide is the way to go. I recommend you add these slides to your arrows.
The Muzzy Gator points are detachable. They are made to release your arrow on impact. The line is tied through the arrow slide and then to the point. When the gator rolls and takes off through the muck, your arrow won’t get broken. That takes away the danger of grabbing a broken off arrow when you haul your gator on board the airboat.
The first arrow and point rig I tied up had a very loose point. There is a plastic sleeve around the arrow that the line goes through. The sleeve is slid against the point, line pulled taught, and the head stays in place. I lost my sleeve while practicing. We had black electrical tape with us that we used to tape the gators jaws shut. I put a wrap of this tape around the head and arrow to keep it in place.
Like any other kind of hunting, practice, practice, practice. Learn how to rig your points, arrows, and floats. Know how your line is set up on your reel. You have to reel line in after every shot. Know how to do it. Know what knots to tie that won’t come loose.
Have fun. That is what hunting and being in the outdoors is all about. Enjoy Gods creation. Be safe. The best hunt is when everyone comes home safe and sound.
- We are bowhunting Florida Alligators at Williams Wildlife Preserve near Arcadia, Florida. For information contact David Mills at 863-303-4726. Visit David on the web at www.teamsrr.com.
- This alligator bowhunt is sponsored by MUZZY Bowfishing Equipment. We received Muzzy Gator Getter Kits with gator arrows, bowfishing reels and line, floats and other necessities. Visit them on the web at www.muzzy.com.