Texas Man Catches Monster Alligator Gar With Bow and Arrow

A giant, prehistoric-looking alligator gar has been caught by a fisherman using a bow and arrow at Falcon Lake, Texas.

On Wednesday, the fisherman's brother, Gerardo Benitez, uploaded pictures and a video of the huge 7 foot, 8 inch gar to Facebook in a viral post in the Falcon Lake Fishing & Outdoors group.

The post shows Edgar, the fishman who reeled in the monster fish, standing next to his catch on the banks of Falcon Lake, which is a reservoir on the Rio Grande close to the Mexican border.

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Alligator gar are the largest species of gar, and can grow to up to 10 feet long. They grow very fast when they're young, but that slows as they get older: every time its age doubles, it grows another foot in length. They can also live for a very long time, which can be estimated from the fish's size—the world record was nearly nine-foot long, and estimated to be over 90 years old.

In the comments of the Facebook post, Benitez explained that Edgar caught and killed the gar using a bow and arrow, a fishing method often used to catch freshwater fish like carp and gar, as well as occasionally sharks and rays in the ocean. They said the weight wasn't recorded as there was no way to weigh it.

"The thing is when you go bow hunting for gar it is not as simple, the gar gives you 1 or 2 seconds the most to get a shot and it's hard to tell how big it is," Benitez said in a comment on his post.

Alligator gar only reach sexual maturity at around 10 years old and they don't spawn every year, meaning that its population is slow growing.

With the popularity of alligator gar as a sports fish, there has been a decline in the population of alligator gar in their natural ranges. They are very popular with bowfishers as their size makes them an easy target.

Conservationists' concerns about alligator gar populations has led them to be protected by law in parts of its range, with a general statewide one-per-day bag limit in Texas.

However, at Falcon Lake, where Benitez's gargantuan gar was caught and killed, there is instead a limit of catching five alligator gar per day, with no limitations on any other species of gar.

Many people commented on the Facebook post containing the pictures and video, condemning the kill.

"I'm just not convinced that was an ethical harvest. You gotta let those giant breeders go. Also shot with a bow..." wrote one commenter, with another agreeing, saying: "They should of let this gar lived. Like what they gonna do with it? Just take picture and get likes? Gar was already this big. Let him continue to grow smh..". Other comments read "What a clown move to kill it" and "Breeding gar right there it should've been released."

"We don't waste the meat, we actually share with friends and family, nothing goes to waste," Benitez responded to the negative reactions to his brother's capture.

alligator gar
A file photo of an alligator gar close up as it swims underwater. A fisherman caught a large one in Texas using a bow and arrow. iStock / Getty Images Plus