Five-year-old Simon Hughes stands three foot something and 44 pounds dripping wet, but like many kids in the piny woods of Texas, he can handle a gun, a skill he’s been practicing for over a year.
His father Scott Hughes says there’s good reason for the early training.
“Everything on the ranch will either bite you or stick you,” he explains.
To make his point, the elder Hughes walks to the marshy edge of his property where under murky water a dangerous predator has lurked, largely undetected for a good chunk of a half century. Call it long running luck that would run out for the creature with a single bite into a baited hook and a face-to-face encounter with a 5-year-old.
“It come out, the biggest alligator I’ve ever seen,” says young Simon of the highly hostile reptile, twenty times his size.
His father Scott had a different description.
“Like a Tyrannosaurus Rex or something,” he says.
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