A Twin Cities hunter not only got his deer on the season’s opening weekend in Minnesota, he got more bang for his buck when he bagged an alligator that same morning.
Cory Klocek was hunting Saturday on farmland in East Bethel, when he took down what he described in a Facebook posting as a “beautiful 10-point buck” with his shotgun.
While tracking the deer, Klocek explained, he came around a pond and looked down to see a 3-foot-long alligator 10 feet away.
Klocek, 35, contacted a local conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and got the go-ahead to shoot the alligator as well.
“No clue how it got there, or why,” Klocek wrote. “I’m guessing someone had it as a pet and released it when it got too big.”
Not wanting to use his shotgun on the alligator, Klocek retrieved a .22-caliber handgun from the Anoka County farmhouse and headed back out to the pond.
The alligator was still there and “pretty lethargic,” Klocek said in an interview Monday.
Before taking aim, he called an Army buddy who used to hunt alligators in his native Louisiana and got some advice.
Klocek got the handgun as close to the gator’s head as he could and finished it off.
In a nod to what a long, strange trip this year has been, Klocek said, “Only in 2020 can you go out … for deer gun season opener in Minnesota and shoot an alligator. I’m still at a loss of words.”
Klocek said the alligator is “in full form, frozen solid in a garbage bag” in a freezer in his home in Zimmerman, and he intends to pair the buck and the gator together for a “fun taxidermy piece.”
DNR spokesman Joe Albert confirmed Klocek got the green light from his agency to take out the reptile because it has “no special protection.”