By Calvin Palmer
Two Texas men have been charged with illegally killing a 600-pound, 13-foot alligator, a star attraction at the Armand Bayou Nature Center.
David Roach and Bryan Elliot, both of Pasadena, have been charged with taking wildlife resources, a misdemeanor that could lead to up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine if convicted.
Capt Albert Lynch of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife said the men broke the law by killing the animal in a protected coastal reserve, where hunting is prohibited, and by dispatching it with a pistol rather than by bow and arrow.
Stewardship coordinator at the Armand Bayou Nature Center, Mark Kramer, said the animal was killed in a state-managed coastal reserve several miles north of the center.
Kramer said the alligator, which might been have one of the biggest in Texas, was possibly a half-century old and a favorite of nature center visitors touring Armand Bayou.
“I can tell you a number of Houstonians would paddle to this destination to view this individual animal,” he said. “It was a waste, a tragic loss. It belonged to all Texans, and it was senseless.”
Lynch said authorities learned of the May incident through a confidential informant., Gossip about the unusually large gator was making the rounds among hunters.
“At first we weren’t certain that we could make anything out of this,” Lynch said, “but then it all came together.”
Harris County Assistant District Attorney Jill Foltermann, who will prosecute the case, said the men caught the alligator on a hook — a standard gator hunting procedure — then tried to kill it with a knife. When that failed, she said, they shot it twice. The hunters shot photographs of themselves with the trophy gator.
Alligators can be legally hunted in Harris County from April 1 to June 30, but only with a bow and arrow and only with a landowner’s permission.
If they are found guilty, would it not be better to tie Roach and Elliot to a stake in a bayou and let the gators take their own revenge? It would certainly save the taxpayers a bunch of money.
Humanity as a whole will not be at a disadavantage with the loss of these two men. I doubt either of them are on the verge of a breakthrough in a cure for cancer or about to patent some device that will benefit all of our lives.
[Based on a report by the Houston Chronicle.]