Friday, October 02, 2009

5-Year-Old Shoots 800-Pound Alligator

Now they call him 'Gator Bait'
Thursday, 01 Oct 2009
HOUSTON - Five-year-old Simon Hughes stands three foot something and 44 pounds dripping wet, but like many kids in the piny woods of Texas, he can handle a gun, a skill he's been practicing for over a year. His father Scott Hughes says there's good reason for the early training.
"Everything on the ranch will either bite you or stick you," he explains.
To make his point, the elder Hughes walks to the marshy edge of his property where under murky water a dangerous predator has lurked, largely undetected for a good chunk of a half century. Call it long running luck that would run out for the creature with a single bite into a baited hook and a face-to-face encounter with a 5-year-old. "It come out, the biggest alligator I've ever seen," says young Simon of the highly hostile reptile, twenty times his size. His father Scott had a different description.
"Like a Tyrannosaurus Rex or something," he says. In a flash Simon brought his single barrel, 4-10 shotgun to bear and blasted. "Simon was a champ, couldn't ask for any better. He was just fearless," recalls Chuck Cotton, a veteran guide and family friend who witnessed the shot. The small charge of bird shot hit the brain of the 800-pound reptile. "He did his death roll," says Simon of the second biggest alligator ever taken in Texas. "I guess it's in my blood," says the kindergartner of his shooting skill. We found proof a few miles down the road in Goodrich where Simon has suddenly become the most famous of it's 240 residents. The town is where Simon's grandparents have run the same catfish joint for the past 27 years. "If I'd known they was in a rowboat out there with that gator I don't think I could function," says Simon's grandmother, June Hughes whose own hunting trophies hang with those of family members on nearly every square foot of the restaurant's walls. Back in the kitchen, Simon's grandfather "Pop" says he's got plans for all that gator meat.
"I'll probably cook up some for the family," he says with a laugh. Turns out Simon has earned himself something of a nickname that's likely to outlast this brief stretch in the spot light." "Gator bait," he says and smiles.



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