Leroy Overstreet began hunting alligators in Florida in the 1930's, and since moving to the Valley, he's busy passing on his knowledge to his friend Lance Swanberg as they attempt to catch a gator on a remote Cameron County Resaca. "I first started about 1939, and I only had an eighth grade education, and I could make a whole lot more money catching alligators than I could working on a cattle ranch," said alligator hunter Leroy Overstreet. The gator is taking the bait and soon Leroy is able to pull out his trusty old 38 special and finish him off. Getting the seven foot gator into the boat is an effort, but soon they are headed back to unload and skin it. Alligator season in the Rio Grande Valley runs for two months from May thru June, and one gator per person is allowed.
Leroy can't remember how many gators he has taken in his long career, but he vividly recalls one of his first encounters. "I had a female alligator, and I found her nest, and she chased me up a tree and kept me there for four or five hours. I never will forget that experience, but that's the only problem I have had," Overstreet said. This seven footer will provide hide for a couple of pair of boots, a purse and a wallet or two, while this tanned 12 foot skin Leroy displays would make quite a few more items. "I am going to guess that the biggest one I ever caught was close to 1,000 pounds, Overstreet said. And of course, gator meat is a tasty treat. "Boy that's tasty! You really know how to make alligator," Lance Swanberg said.