LUSBY, Md. — “It’s softer than you would expect,” William Adams said as he sprawled out the skin of a 7’6” alligator that he caught and killed in Southern Maryland on June 20. “You can see there is still a little bit of meat on it that we couldn’t get off.”
With teeth that could easily cut someone, a jaw and nose that felt hard like rocks, and bumps down its tail that resembles a flexible rubber, this was a prehistoric beast unlike any ever seen in these waters. And while it was certainly not something the Adams family expected to be handling on Father’s Day, it was a situation they had spent weeks preparing for together.
“About two weeks ago, I was in the pond rowing around fishing with my kayak, and my kayak drifted against some trees. When it drifted against the trees, then I looked down in the water, and like a foot away from me was a big alligator head… just looking at me,” Adams said.
“It was kind of scary because when my dad screamed, I was right next to him,” Jake, William’s 14-year-old son who went kayaking with him said. “He was like ‘There’s an alligator, there’s an alligator!’, [and] he said get out the pond.”
The reptilian encounter between Driftwood Beach and Seahorse Beach within the Chesapeake Ranch Estates community left them unsurprisingly startled but put them on a mission. The father ordered hooks and ropes online and prepared to make an “As Seen on TV” catch.
“Saturday afternoon, I got all my lines set up, and everything like you’d see on the Swamp People show, and hung the chicken in the trees,” William explained. “Sunday morning, I went back there to check my lines, and he was on one of the lines… I was pretty surprised. I didn’t really think it was gonna work.”
After a well-researched and executed crossbow shot to the back of the head from his kayak, Adams and some of his friends managed to pull the gator through the brackish water and to shore at Driftwood Beach.
How the alligator got there or potentially has managed to survive has left many community members baffled. Adams said he confidently thinks the gator was a pet that was released at some point and a spokesperson from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources(DNR) acknowledged that sometimes people who “illegally kept pet alligators release them into the wild.”
The killing of the alligator has also caused considerable commotion in the community. Some have gone as far as to say it was a “tame” alligator reportedly seen in the area as early as 2015, but Adams says he has already spoken with the DNR about the whole situation.
“I actually called DNR and asked them about it, and they said that I am perfectly safe,” Adams said. “I’m gonna get it mounted if the DNR will give me a tag.”
Gregg Bortz, a spokesman for DNR, said that regarding the situation, “Maryland Natural Resources Police are still consulting with allied agencies, local and federal, on this matter.” Bortz then mentioned how the DNR has been unable to confirm any previously mentioned rumors of alligators in Calvert County, but that “alligators or other non-native crocodilians” have sparsely shown up in the state before.
The Adams family said that they don’t plan on letting the kill go to waste. They have stocked their freezer with over 50-pounds of authentic Maryland alligator meat.
And what better way to cook it than like a true Marylander.
“We just fried it last night, and it was good,” Adams said with a smile. “Just flour and Old Bay.”
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