Search continues for suspect in Rusk County alligator killing

Search continues for suspect in Rusk County alligator killing

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas game warden is still on the hunt for the suspect or suspects who killed an alligator and then left it to rot.

It happened in October when game wardens were called to a remote location in Rusk County where the decomposing retile was found.

For a month, Rusk County Game Warden Kirk Clendening has been trying to find clues as to who may have shot an alligator near the Bowles Creek bridge.

“On October 2nd, game wardens were notified about a 9-foot American alligator that was found dead at the Bowles Creek bridge off of County Road 4194. It had an apparent gunshot wound,” he said.

Clendening has combed the area numerous times, but he has found no clues. What he needs is a description of a car, a license plate, or any suspicious person who was seen at the time.

“We do know that it’s a frequent area where people like to fish at. We’re just hoping by now that someone has heard something regarding the incident,” Clendening said.

And now an incentive is being offered for information.

“If we’re able to make an arrest and get a conviction with the information you provide, you’re eligible for up to a $1,000 reward,” Clendening said.

There is an official alligator hunting season, but it ended on June 30th. The gator was not only killed illegally but left to decompose.

People have even left flowers for the gator.

It’s unknown if the animal was dumped at the site, or someone shot it from the bridge, which would be another violation of the law.

“We’re just hoping by now someone has talked about it. And that someone is willing to share the information,” Clendening said.

Alligators like all wildlife are a natural resource, and killing one illegally is a serious crime.

“Depending on the violation, it could reach all the way to a state jail felony,” Clendening said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the game wardens office or call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-792-GAME.

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