Minnesota deer hunter gets bang for buck with alligator haul

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man who was tracking a large buck on the opening weekend of deer hunting season wound up finding another prize for his collection when he came across a 3-foot alligator.

Cory Klocek was hunting Saturday on farmland in East Bethel, about 40 miles (64.37 kilometers) north of Minneapolis, when he took down with a shotgun what he described on Facebook as a “beautiful 10-point buck,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. Right about that time he came around a pond and spotted the alligator.

“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.”

Klocek, 35, contacted a local conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources and got the go-ahead to shoot the alligator as well. He retrieved a .22-caliber handgun and headed back to the pond.

“Only in 2020 can you go out… for deer gun season opener in Minnesota and shoot an alligator,” Klocek said Monday in an interview. “I’m still at a loss of words.”

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Joe Albert confirmed Klocek got the green light from his agency to take out the reptile because it has “no special protection.”

Klocek said he intends to pair the buck and the gator together for a “fun taxidermy piece.”

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