LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Alligators are a regular sight here in southwest Louisiana, but recently residents have reported several aggressive gators near the 210 boat launch area.
They're a part of the culture in southwest Louisiana, but close alligator sightings are becoming a common occurrence near the 210 boat launch and kayak launch area.
"Normally an alligator in the wild, whenever he sees a human, will go down, or keep a distance away from you," said nuisance alligator hunter Randall Hebert. "These have actually been coming up to people launching their kayaks, getting within 6, 8, 10 feet of them."
Hebert says the gators are aggressive for many reasons.
"One, it's mating season," said Hebert. "You got your big bull gators swimming around, looking for mates, so they're a lot more active. Nesting season, if you have females on the nest, they are really really aggressive. Or if people start feeding them, they get used to people. They see people and think of them as food."
Parish officials received reports of people feeding gators near 210 and Contraband Bayou. But Hebert says don't do it.
"If you want to look at them, look at them from a distance," said Hebert. "Don't try to approach them. Don't feed them to get them close. Look at them from a distance. If they start acting aggressive, leave them alone."
Hebert already harvested a four foot and an eight foot alligator from the area. But after more reports came in, he put his lines back out. And Wednesday morning, he pulled another one in the boat.
"I caught one that was 7'2"," said Hebert.
But Hebert isn't done. He's got something bigger in his sights.
"I have one that a commercial fisherman said he seen about 5:30-6:00 this morning," said Hebert. "That's the one I'm after. That's the one that the kayakers have pictures of. This guy's been in the outdoors all his life. He says he's every bit of 10, if not 11 foot."
Many speculate the casino construction is forcing the alligators out of their territory. But Hebert says it's normal for them to move.
"Alligators move," said Hebert. "They have a home territory. They move around it. We do have a big influx of alligators after hurricane Ike and hurricane Rita. They pushed a lot of alligators out of Cameron parish up into this area. So we are seeing a lot more alligators".
Hebert says overall the numbers aren't that much different than last year. Hebert took 75 alligators out of the Lake Charles area, and so far this year, he's just over 50.