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The Perfect Hunt - Fort Scott Munitions

The Perfect Hunt

Alligator Hunt with Ryan Kraft - Velocity TacticsAs you know, Florida is known for warm weather, hurricanes, and alligators. On this hunt, we were heading for a Monster alligator while Hurricane Erika was heading for us. With the hurricane on the way, time was of the essence; we had to act fast. On the morning of the hunt, I was with Greg Fess and Matt Davis from Fort Scott Munitions™ having breakfast when we got the call. The alligator had been spotted again on a cattle ranch that was about an hour from us. We had made it all the way from Kansas to get here, and now it was time to make the final leg of our journey to find this Monster.

Two weeks earlier, we received a call about a possible monster alligator, realized this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and decided to go for it. Since this was a fair chase hunt, there were no land restrictions and no way of truly knowing how big the animal was until it was scouted. The guys at Big O Hunts scouted by land and plane and leading up to the final days they did an overnight camp out and were able to verify the magnitude of this animal. In the final days leading up to the hunt, we decided we wanted to develop a bullet superior to current match grade ammunition on the market. Our choice for this hunt was to use a 7MM bullet for an effective, ethical kill. The team worked around the clock for the next week and a half to design, build, and test the bullets to ensure they were accurate. Gary Buntain was a huge help in this process. We would test each of the newly designed bullets by taking seven consecutive shots. If the grouping couldn't fit in a dime size hole, we would start making adjustments to insure the bullet was precise. Once the rounds were in a tight enough grouping, the bullets went into production.

In a hurry to meet deadlines and make it to the airport in time, Gary and I only had time to load 47 of the brand new 7MM Fort Scott Munitions bullets into the box made for 50 before heading out the door for the airport. I know I really didn't need 50 bullets, but it's nice to have a full box! As a gift for my birthday several years prior, my mom and dad gave me a Kimber firearm. It seemed only fitting that I would use my new Kimber Adirondack Rifle for this hunt. As backup, just in case anything went awry, Greg and Matt had me covered.

The Perfect Hunt - Velocity TacticsWith our guides from Big O Hunts, Casey and Cody, we loaded the truck, got our Florida alligator tag, and headed to the farm southeast of Lake Okeechobee. Once we arrived at the ranch, we stalked a quarter mile or so almost entirely through a creek that was home to gator. This was an experience in and of itself. As we entered the creek my heart began to race. I was fully aware that we were in the gators territory now. The farm owner said some cattle had gone missing over the last couple of years, and he thought there may have been an alligator to blame. After we walked through the pasture and creek then across the pond dam, it was time for us to get set up. Based on the morning sighting of the gator and the path we took, "he was either going to go across us to the creek or through us to get away," Matt said laughingly. This was a one shot opportunity, and there was no margin for error.

After getting settled for no more than five minutes, the alligator poked a nostril out of the water followed by its head, which was heading towards the pond dam we had just crossed. "That's him. That's him. That's him. Take him!" said Casey. We were 55 yards away; I was ready to take the shot. Ignoring my pounding heart, I steadied my rifle and aimed for the alligator's eye. Just like that, the bullet made contact just an inch above his eye, and the alligator's body came out of the water upon impact. His head, tail and legs were exposed momentarily and then quickly began to sink. Immediately after the shot, it seemed like an eternity but racing to the waters edge Casey, our guide had a moment of doubt. "I hope that was him." Casey said nervously.

With the strength of 5 grown men on the rope, we pulled in a 13 foot 2 1/2 inch alligator topping out the scales at a whopping 980 pounds. I literally want to call it a blessing. Just minutes after I shot the alligator, the storm rolled in.

Since we were hunting out of state, our tag for this alligator was obtained from the state of Florida. This gator broke two of Big O Hunts previous benchmarks. The first was broken by 1/2" on overall length and the other in weight by 250 pounds. This made our alligator exceed the illusive 13 foot threshold and excess of 900 pounds to truly be a Monster alligator. Based on the size of him, our guides are estimating that he was closing in on 100 years old. Alligators have about the same life expectancy as humans but to get to that age, an alligator this size would have endured unending territorial battles to obtain the best sustainable living areas. This alligator is no exception to that seeing that a portion of his tail had even been bitten off at one point in his life. Not only that, but the taxidermist found an archery broad head in the sinus cavity where he had been shot with a bow that had been lodged and healed over.

Alligator Hunt Taxidermy - Velocity TacticsThe Taxidermist said he was amazed at the entry wound because he expected to see shrapnel like in all of the other alligators he has mounted. The bullet had entered the alligator's skull penetrating the 3/4" thickness and exited the other side of his head without leaving any debris from our Fort Scott Munitions 7MM bullet. "A copper jacketed bullet would have disintegrated," said Greg. "We needed a bullet with better penetration that would essentially give us a larger window of success. I would do it again and again and again, with the hard work and dedication put forth by the entire Fort Scott Munitions™ team. We were able to have this once in a lifetime experience." Concluded Matt Davis "If ever there was a perfect hunt, this was it."
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