Social Studies Teacher by Day, Gator Hunter by Night

LR News City Editor

Horatio Teacher Kills 12-foot Alligator in Little River

Liz Bowman stands with the 12-foot alligator she killed on Sept. 21. Last year, Bowman shot a 7.5-foot alligator, but this year, she tagged an alligator more than triple the 4-foot minimum. Bowman is a fifth-grade social studies teacher at Horatio Elementary School, and she said she’s always loved hunting and fishing.

On Sept. 21, Horatio Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Liz Bowman harpooned and shot a 12-foot alligator in the Little River. “I’ve always loved hunting and fishing, and it was just something new,” Bowman said.

Bowman received one of 100 gator permits issued in 2019, and as a permit recipient, she attended a mandatory hunter orientation class. The hunt began 30 minutes after sunset and ended 30 minutes before sunrise during two weekends: Sept. 20-23 and Sept. 27-30.

Each permit allowed for one gator that was at least 4 feet long. At 12 feet, Bowman’s catch was triple the minimum length. Bowman was issued her first gator permit in 2018, in which her kill was 7.5 feet long.

“Permit holders are allowed three helpers that have an Arkansas hunting license,” Bowman said.

“However, the permit holder has to be the one to harpoon the gator with a hand harpoon and [kill] it with a shotgun once it has been harpooned.” Bowman’s helpers were her husband, Clay Bowman, of Horatio; her cousin, Chad Tucker, of Mineral Springs; and her cousin, Nathan Gaddis, of Three Rivers, Texas. The hunt begins when the hunter goes scouting.

When the hunters scout for gators, they cannot bring their equipment. Then the hunter returns at night. Bowman harpooned the gator, and then she shot it twice in the back of the neck with the shotgun.

Bowman said the entire process lasted about 10 minutes. Bowman said her students were so excited and happy to hear about her successful hunt, and she heard from them even before school on Monday.

“I just love seeing their eyes light up when they hear that their teacher is a gator hunter,” Bowman said. “It is such a reward because they see that you can do just about anything you set your mind to with hard work and dedication.”

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