WELLINGTON, Fla. - An alligator trapping operation is under way in Wellington. The 7 foot, 150 pound alligator moved in to Village Park a few days ago, a very popular spot for youth baseball and football games. Even for trained professionals, catching a gator is no easy job.
Patience and practice are two things that Rick Kramer has a lot of. Like he has been doing for 15 years, he found himself fishing for an alligator once again.
"Finding him is one thing, catching him is another," said Kramer, with his eyes set on the pond at the rear of the park. He was called in by park officials to take care of this 'nuisance' alligator that moved in to the water right next to dozens of kids on the football field.
None of the people seemed to know that Kramer was there. But the gator sure did.
"I've been out here three days, and this is the first time I've actually seen the alligator," he said. An Alligator Control Officer contracted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Kramer works alone and with only a hook on the end of his line. He wants to snag some part of the gator's body to reel the animal in, tape it's mouth closed, then load it onto his truck.
Kramer did have the gator in his sights but he came up short. The rains came and the sun set, and Kramer kept trying.
"Some instances, you show up and catch an alligator in ten minutes. Sometimes it takes a few days, a few weeks."
He doesn't mind the waiting. For him, this is tradition. Kramer's father was an alligator trapper for 30 years.
"If you know what you're doing and if you give the alligator respect, it's all right." He is confident he will soon fish this gator out. Until this wild animal is caught, visitors to the park are asked to used caution.
Kramer says he traps between 500 and 600 alligators each year. He was bitten once, years ago, on the foot. After trapping he usually moves the gators to more remote areas or sells them to gaiter farms.
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