22 Dec 2006

Email Gator

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A correspondent of mine on outdoor matters forwarded this email to me today:


This picture was taken by a Lifeflight helicopter flying over Lake Istapoka, (For those of you who are not local, Lake Istapoka is near Sebring, Fl.) That has to be a HUGE gator to have a whole deer in its mouth! Are you ready to go fishing on Lake Istapoka ?! If you ski — try not to fall.

Date: Mon, 1 Aug, 2006 06:14:24 -0500

The alligator was found between Lake Istapoka and Pinedale estates… near a house, Game Wardens were forced to shoot the alligator- guess he wouldn’t cooperate. Jayne and Don Hobkirk could hear the bellowing in the night. Their neighbors had been telling them that they had seen a mammoth alligator in the Lake that runs behind their house, but they dismissed the stories as being exaggerations. “I didn’t believe it,” Don Hobkirk said. Friday they realized the stories were, if anything, understated. Florida Game and Parks game wardens had to shoot the beast… Joe Goff, 6′ 5″ tall, a game warden with the Florida Game and Parks Commission, walks past the 23-foot, one inch alligator that he shot and killed in the back yard of Jayne & Don Hobkirk…


Pretty impressive.

I like to mention storoes of this kind here, so I went looking for news stories. Surprise! I didn’t find any.

What I found was a number of links indicating that the giant alligator-with-deer and game-warden-named-Joe-Goff photos were from separate sources, and the email story was a hoax.

The alligator with deer photos were actually taken by Terri Jenkins of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from a helicopter flyong over Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, about 40 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on March 4, 2004. The alligator in the photo was estimated to be at least 12-13 (3.6-4 meters) feet long.

The game-warden-walking-past-gator photo was taken by Val Horvath, and published in The Facts (Brazoria County, Texas) April 16, 2005.

The alligator was really 13-foot, 1-inch (4 meters) long. It was shot and killed in the back yard of a home in the Bar X Ranch on FM 521 near West Columbia, Texas by Joe Goff, a game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Hoax emails are in circulation combing the Terri Jenkins photos with the Val Horvath photo, enlarging the alligator’s size to 23 feet (7 meters), and misattributing the location to several places in Florida and Texas.

Debunked at:



I still found all this interesting enough to pass along.

16 Feedbacks on "Email Gator"


thats a huge bitch


Thanks for the info…your research saved me the time & effort in squashing the myth of this happening in Florida. Being A Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer, not a “Florida Game and Parks game wardens” as the article above mentions (what is that anyway hahaha), there has not been any scuttlebutt about this actually occuring amongst the ranks. The uniform on the officer is not of Florida, and the Gators look different upon review. I received the false email the other day and researched a little to verify. Thanks for the clarification.


Why did the WILD LIFE DEPARTMENT have to shoot this great animal. Shoot first then ask questions later, that is the way it always is! STUPID! why couldn’t they take some time to build a cage and relocate it to a batter, safer, place? “Listen Bill…. just shoot the dam thing so we can go for lunch, and plus I need to pee!” SHOOT IT!”


i agree, that was a magnificent reptile. just think how old could this animal was 100-200y/o?…………if anybody has ask that question?………nr


I received that e-mail just a few days ago. I was in Florida twice this year and encountered alligators while fishing. They know right where to be when you land a fish! Naturally I am interested in those gators now. While there in Feb ’07, A man diving in a small lake for golf balls at a course in New Port Richey had a 7 footer grab him by the foot. He had the presence of mind to try and gouge the gator’s eyes out which caused his release.
Thanks for letting me know that the e-mail was a hoax. But….I’ll bet that “big guy” is out there somewhere.


Tony Abegglen

Living in a South Africa where all animals are appreciated, for the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone, who has some brains, has to kill an animal like that. What makes the Americans so crazy as to want to kill, kill, kill. You kill all over the world. You kill in your schools. You kill whenever you get a chance. What the hell is wrong with your nation? Can’t you grow up? The quicker you wipe yourselves off the face of this planet the better place it will become for everyone. You should kill the bastard who killed the ‘gator.

rob wolis

tony is right our country has lost its way i am sorry. i am 1 with the animals being more them than human, the usa is out of control not only with this but an animal like this should have had a heroes retirement not shot like a criminal. again i apologize, i n others like me will turn america around 1 way or another . any way we must. god bless


You’ll have to learn to spell and to think, before you have the slightest hope of changing anything more complicated than a light bulb.

Jim pippin

What a GATOR


I am a local in sebring,and have gone fishing in istapoka lake and we got lost and had to be towed back 7 miles.I am amased at the length of this animal and have seen others that are big but i agree this animal should have been removed and relocated and not shot.But it makes me wonder about fishing in istapoka to think we could have been lunch sitting there in the dark at the dock being checked out by the game warden.My friend is new here,he is from rhode island and when we got close to a big gator,the gator got mad and jumped 4 feet out of the water and scared my friend,he jumped to the back of the boat and i laughed.Now i will laugh no more.Monsters Are Possible.Bill Taylor.

Animal Slayer

i think yall are al a bunch of retarted tree huggers.god put animals on earth to shoot thats the way it is. yall are the ones that need to be shot


Bill Taylor your whole paragraph was basically one large run-on sentence. I don’t think anyone could have possibly understood what you just wrote. I think all of you ‘animal rights people’ sound so dumb “being one with the animals” give me a break!! If you can’t even use grammar properly, how could you possibly be signing animals rights petitions, let alone spelling your own name correctly! By the way just because you use big words like; “magnificent” doesn’t mean you sound intelligent, you just sound more idiodic. Rob Wolis, thanks for being the hero America needs…NOT…news flash! you’re not the president, what exactly are you apologizing for? Ohh and Tony Abegglen, here in AMERICA, we shoot things that are about to devour us alive! If you have such strong feelings toward this Nation than why don’t you go back to Africa. Don’t you think it’s a little hypocritical of you to be saying that America is so cruel, and savage like, when Africa is infested with disease, violence, and starvation. Not to mention a corrupt government.


dalielah is right. Yall are a bunch of bitches.


Just fished Istokpoga this weekend and someone told us this story. Haha….it’s still being passed around. Great site


Dalielah, hell yeah!


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