[meteorite-list] Mexico Doug Okay? (Alligator Tips for Meteorite Hunters)

From: MexicoDoug <mexicodoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 2016 02:06:38 -0400
Message-ID: <15465c6a655-4f91-6a91_at_webprd-m98.mail.aol.com>

Hi Mike, Ed and all, Thanks for the nice notes I received from a bunch of you who wrote me about my accident and wishing me well. Just to say after 7 weeks, I was able to stand up a few days ago. Today I began walking in a gradual rehabilitation so things are now looking up. I expect a complete recovery now, hopefully sooner than the 13 week estimate.

Also I wrote up the Osceola #7 finally as I promised I would. It'll be on MPOD today with some of what happened to me while hunting in the swamp and wet pinelands till I got hurt. The hunt meant a lot, but being alone and isolated, a lot of crazy things happened there as you can read about.

I wanted to thank Paul so much for hosting my story, and all the work he puts into his MPOD site in general which was something to look forward to while trying to get better.

Ed wrote:
"Certainly the real life adventures of you meteorite hunters should interest viewers."

Hope you enjoy the story, Ed, and that people enjoy reading too ;-)

Kindest wishes

-----Original Message-----
From: Galactic Stone & Ironworks <meteoritemike at gmail.com>
To: MexicoDoug <mexicodoug at aol.com>
Cc: epgrondine <epgrondine at yahoo.com>; meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Thu, Apr 21, 2016 2:00 pm
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] Mexico Doug Okay? (Alligator Tips for Meteorite Hunters)

Hi Doug and List,

There are large reptiles of the maneater variety within the confines
of Osceola National Forest, and specifically the Big Gum Swamp. The
further in you go off the beaten path, the wilder it gets.

For anyone considering searching this swamp for meteorites, refer to
this handy list of tips regarding alligators. I posted this in a
fossil forum, but it applies to anywhere in Florida :


Some words of general advice about alligators from a long-time Florida
resident and outdoors enthusiast. Some of this is common sense and
some of it is based on experience.

Alligators are the subject of much needless fear, and I want to try to
alleviate the fears of my fellow fossil (meteorite!) hunters.

First, unprovoked attacks are extremely rare. Consider how many
alligators there are in Florida, and then consider how many people
hunt, fish, hike, swim, and engage in watersports in Florida. Your
chances of having an alligator select you at random for an attack are
very very remote.

Most alligator attacks on humans involve some form of provocation or
proximity to prey behavior. If you see an alligator, just move away
from it and do not taunt or harass it. There is no need to slap your
paddle on the water, shout at it, or throw things at it. If you are in
a boat, just keep moving along. If you are wading in the water or
swimming, get out of the water without panicking.

Do not exhibit prey behavior - that means no splashing around. Having
splash fights is for kids in swimming pools, not adults in a river.
Alligators are attracted to prey behavior such as splashing and they
may investigate the source of the noise.

Do not bring your dog into the river. It's just a bad idea. Dogs like
to splash around and are generally clueless about gators. Leave the
dog at home or at the campground.

Do not allow your kids to frolick and splash in the river - it is
viewed as prey behavior.

Do not throw food, fish scrap, or bait into the water. This one is
common sense, but bears repeating.

Baby alligators are cute and more colorful than the adults. Resist the
urge to approach them or linger in their vicinity. Mama gators are
notoriously protective and take a dim view of humans near their
babies. If you see baby alligators, avoid them. Snap a quick photo if
you must, but don't hang around. And certainly don't go into the water
anywhere near them, because mama is certainly nearby. This is the only
exception to the "unprovoked attack" rules - any human presence near
the nest or babies is considered a provocation by mama. Just keep
moving along. If the babies become alarmed, they will start making
noises and mama will come quickly. If the babies start fussing - get
out of there.

Stay out of "gatory" areas - fallen trees in the river might snag and
collect fossils, but they are also choice areas for alligator nests.
Search the rootball on the banks, but stay out of the submerged area
of the tree top. This is probably an overabundance of caution, but why
tempt fate by hanging around areas that are attractive to gators?

Areas of the river that are busy with activity are generally free of
alligators. Lots of boat activity and noise will deter gators. They
generally avoid these areas. Your chances of being attacked near the
main boat ramp of a busy park is almost zero.

Alligators are most active at night - stay out of the river at night.
A midnight skinny dip might seem romantic, but you may end up in a
less-than-romantic situation.

If you are absolutely terrified of alligators, fossil hunt when
temperatures are cold. Gator activity is almost non-existent when
water and air temperatures are cold. Hunting in the winter is about as
safe as you can get.

Fossil hunt with a partner, especially if you plan on diving holes.
You partner is on "gator watch" while you dive.

When sifting or wading, do not turn your back to the river for
extended periods of time. Eyes on the bank for fossils, eyes on the
river for gators. Do not get all wrapped up in your sifting and forget
about the river - keep your head up from time to time and be aware of
your surroundings.

When it comes to Florida and water, you should be more afraid of
sharks at the beach than gators in the rivers. Almost all human
behavior in the water is considered prey behavior to a shark, and they
will approach or bite unknown objects to investigate their worth as
food. Alligators generally are not curious or aggressive like sharks.

Truth be told, I am more afraid of snakes than alligator attack. In
over 35 years of enjoying Florida's lakes and rivers, I have only had
two close encounters with alligators. Both times, the alligator
seemingly appeared out of nowhere near my boat, swam calmly by, and
ignored me. I never once felt threatened.

If you exercise common sense and avoid the appearance of prey
behavior, then feel free to fossil (meteorite!) hunt without fear. :)

Best regards,


On 4/21/16, MexicoDoug via Meteorite-list
<meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com> wrote:
> Thanks Ed for asking. I've been disabled for the last 5 weeks from an
> accident.  I hope I'll be able to stand again soon.  Walking might be a bit
> longer, and I hope for a complete recovery.
> It wasn't caused by wrestling a 5 meter long gator attempting to rip a
> meteorite out of his jaws. He wasn't out prowling for gastroliths and I
> don't believe he had a cache of a new class of meteorites in his gizzards.
> I didn't have to outrun him at 80 kph across swamps, pinelands and through
> the palmettos.  He never sunk his teeth into my juicy leg. I didn't even,
> have to use my GPS unit to prop open his jaws to withdraw my shredded leg.
> There was not a full row of his teeth ever embedded in my femur.  Not
> particularly interesting TV material.
> I'd enjoy writing a full length meteorite hunting fantasy sometime.  Hope
> there will be no further opportunities to do it :-)
> Kindest wishes
> Doug
> -----Original Message-----
> From: E.P. Grondine via Meteorite-list
> <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> To: meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> Sent: Wed, Apr 20, 2016 1:19 pm
> Subject: [meteorite-list] Mexico Doug Okay?
> Hi all -
> I am just getting to my mail. How is Doug doing?
> What the hell happened?
> Since "Meteorite Men" feel to $#!t, (geoff, Brenheim steve?)
> I have thought that a new meteorite show is needed.
> Certainly the real life adventures of you meteorite hunters should interest
> viewers.
> goo hunting, all,
> Ed
> BTW, as some very cheap used copies of "Man and Impact in the Americas" have
> been showing up on amazon,
> some of you may wish to invest in them now.
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Received on Sat 30 Apr 2016 02:06:38 AM PDT

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