Nuisance hunter keeps alligators in check

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POSTED: Monday, June 27, 2011 - 4:12pm

UPDATED: Monday, June 27, 2011 - 5:02pm

Most of the time, they stick to the swamps, but every once in awhile, alligators show up in places they shouldn't be. Then, it's up to nuisance hunters to get rid of them.

When a six-foot alligator took up residence in the Cook's backyard pond, they weren't surprised. "I don't know why they come, but every year we have one," says Albert Cook.

Every year, the gators have to go.  "I didn't really have anything against the alligator, but he's got an eye on the little dog," he explains.

So, he called John Currier. He's a licensed Nuisance Alligator Hunter. It's his job to remove the big reptiles when they end up too close to humans. Then, he takes them somewhere safe.

"It's very thrilling," says Currier of his job. "I don't think I'm an adrenaline junkie, but it is exciting."

Monday, Currier's catch was unusual. The alligator in the Cook's backyard came right up to the dock when he saw people nearby.

"He's been fed," says Currier. "We call that being habituated. That's why we tell people not to feed them. They lose their fear of humans. They come to expect food, and then they get dangerous."

Currier's been in the business for about 20 years. "It's like a carnival. It's not as dangerous as it seems, if you know what you're doing," he says.

When he's on the job, he's always cautious. "Real men don't normally admit to being chickens, but I'm kind of a big chicken and that's why I have all my fingers and toes and arms and legs," he says.

Currier says his job is not for everybody. If a gator is giving you trouble, don't try to remove it yourself. He says you should call the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and then they'll send someone to remove it.

You can find contacts and learn more about nuisance alligators at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/nuisance-alligators

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