Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sister Newspapers' News

April 19, 2013

'Gatorman' has a passion for reptiles

— — VALDOSTA, Ga. — Donny Bartow’s job description is simple: Gator trapper.

His job is not.

A licensed “nuisance trapper” in south Georgia for the past 10 years, Bartow has an extreme passion for reptiles. “You don’t have to kill it, if you’re scared of it,” he said.

Bartow, who is commonly known as Gatorman, gets frantic calls from people who spot alligators at a nearby pond or crossing a neighborhood street. He catches, on average, 30 to 100 gators a year.

“I am one in 13 licensed nuisance trappers in the state,” Bartow said. “I am the only one licensed in our area.”

For years he’s preached that it is unnecessary for residents to take alligator matters into their own hands.  Bartow has witnessed people kill an alligator simply for being on their property and not because they are causing harm. And he doesn't like it.

“They have made gators out to be man killers and that just simply isn’t the case,” Bartow said. “The gator isn’t being malicious.”

Worse yet, he said people don’t realize that killing gators is illegal. It is a felony for anyone to participate in acts like this without a license.

“You can face jail time and heavy fines,” Bartow said. “It’s not an endangered species but it belongs to the state of Georgia.”

In order to hunt and kill alligators in Georgia, you must have a license to do so.

“It’s either me or the game warden,” Bartow said. “Call 911 and I will be there. All safety is ensured to everyone involved.”

The largest alligator caught to date by Bartow was located in Clinch County, Ga., back in 2006. Although it was a struggle, Bartow managed to trap it..

“He was 13 feet and 1,000 pounds,” Bartow said. “Had to pull him out with a truck.”

Text Only
Sister Newspapers' News
Sister Newspaper Columns
AP Editor's Picks Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
National and World