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As someone who recently ignored his 58th birthday, I’m [still] here to say that the older you get, the older you think old is. When I read’s headline 71-year-old recovering after gator attack at Florida gated community, I thought, 71 isn’t that old! It’s not like she was eighty! Anyway . . .

Genie Witzel, who was gardening when a 10-foot alligator decided to come after her, is recovering at Lee Memorial Hospital, according to the Fort Myers News Press.

“She’s doing fine,” Witzel’s son, Sheldon Upchurch, told the News Press. “The gator grabbed her by the foot. She fought him off. She stabbed him in the nose with gardening shears.”

The gator was caught Sunday night and has been killed, Florida Fish & Wildlife officials told the Fort Myers News Press.

There is no obvious reason why Ms.Witzel shouldn’t have been carrying a gun while gardening. And one obvious reason why she should have: gators!

In fact, there’s plenty of wildlife in Florida — even in gated communities! — that can ruin your whole day. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone? What about a rabid cat, raccoon or bobcat (that attacked an 80-year-old woman, requiring 60 body stitches).

Not to mention coyotes. (I snapped the above sign just outside the playing field at Denver’s Colorado Academy.)  As former Texas Governor and current Energy Department jefe Rick Perry proved, even a Ruger .380 can be enough to eliminate that threat.

That’s an easy enough gun to carry that’s a pretty good choice for disincentivizing two-legged varmints, too. Hey, how old is Rick now? Wait, wait, don’t tell me . . .

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  1. What is a good gun to use to defend yourself from a gator? I’m pretty sure it’s not the same gun used to hunt the gator.

    • Virtually any firearm will kill a gator if you hit it in the brain. Problem is it’s brain is about the size of a walnut.

      • One can kill a gator with a pencil. I’m not carrying a pencil for self defense.

        I know gators have tiny lizard brains, tough leather skin that is like armor, they’re fast, their tails are powerful, and they don’t have a lot of strength to open their mouths. That’s about all I know about fighting gators.

        • If you shoot a gator ‘right between the eyes’, you will have a likely *very* pissed-off gator that will require being shot properly to kill it.

          The pics at the bottom of this page gives a rough idea of where the brain is:

        • From someone who lives in FL and regularly hunts gators, if you cannot run away or shoot it from a distance, jump on its back empty what ever you happen to be carrying into the back of its head. Even a .22 will do it. If you dont hit the brain it’ll still often be stunned, (provided the shot is near the brain, I’ve had some gators “reanimate” due to this, this is why you tape their mouths shut when hunting them after you’ve bagged one.) and you can either get away or grab its mouth and hold it Shut, then stab it in the brain.

        • Hank, you’re saying there are zombie gators? Add that to mosquitos big enough to require FAA flight clearance and those really stiff breezes called hurricanes and then those dudes called Florida Man and there’s no way a sensible person ever sets foot in Florida. Ever.

        • Lol, sort of. Reanimate is a little bit of a colorful word, but yes in a sense. I was always taught after bagging a gator to tape its mouth shut, incase the shot went near the brain (not into it) and merely stunned it. I actually had one “come back” once, and used a screw driver to jab into its brain and just scrambled the whole area. Because of this, I now also stab the brain after shooting it and taping it, for good measure. To my knowledge Gators are also in South Georgia, a little bit of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. But yeah Florida also has slew of other crazy shit, and people. The New England liberals are by the far the worst though!

      • “Virtually any firearm will kill a gator if you hit it in the brain. Problem is it’s brain is about the size of a walnut.”

        So gators are Democrats?

    • My vote goes for the Glock 29SF, or maybe a 3″ .357 Magnum with big rubber grips on it.

    • TX_Lawyer,

      I am definitely NOT an expert on killing alligators. Just going on basic knowledge:
      (1) I would say any handgun in 9 mm Luger or larger caliber would be fine.*
      (2) During an actual attack, I would try to shoot anywhere near the midline of the alligator’s neck — trying for a spinal cord shot. If that target area was a no-go for some reason, then I would shoot for the heart/lungs and hope for the best while waiting for the alligator to go unconscious from low blood pressure.

      * Caveat: I specify 9 mm Luger or larger in case you end up having to try and shoot the alligator’s heart/lungs where you need adequate penetration and the largest hole possible. If you have an unobstructed shot at the brain, even .22 LR is fine. But I would not count on that. And a larger caliber might provide a higher probability of stunning the gator on a near-miss to the brain.

    • I’ve lived the vast majority of my life near alligators (maybe all of it). The closest I’ve ever come to being attacked by an alligator was when it was coming right for us. It was going for something in the reeds that lined up with us.

      The only wild animal I’ve ever actually been attacked by was a bird about the size of a finch. I was bitten by a cat once, and a chihuahua another time.

      I’m not too worried about animal attacks.

  2. The problem is the easy access to alligators in Florida. You don’t see this kind of alligator crime in states with stricter alligator control. Florida should make alligators illegal then this kind of thing won’t happen. Seriously, look at Nebraska – they are much more proactive in getting alligators off of the street and they have virtually no alligator violence. Also, Norway.

  3. I hadn’t fallen apart YET at 58…60 was a bitch. I think ANYONE my age(near 65)is old. Just do your best RF…

      • Not me, Ralph. I was sick as a dog all that year. 🙂 I got well, and am now 70 going on 40. We don’t have alligators here in Wyoming, of course, but we do have plenty of mountain lions, bears, some wolves and a LOT of very dangerous deer. Those damned things are nasty if they think they are threatened. And that’s why I don’t leave the house unarmed, ever, even just to take out the trash. You can bet I am fully armed when I’m in the garden. You just never know.

  4. There have been a lot of gator attacks in south west Florida this year. I live in a gated community and several have been removed from the large pond the houses circle. They have all been small maybe 4 feet tops. Get on top of them and hold their mouth shut. They have weak muscles that open their jaws.

  5. Gun would probably have been better but the improvised weapon worked and was in her hands at the moment so I’d say she did pretty well.

  6. Jay,
    You can jump on his back and hold it’s jaws shut
    I am 59 years old and I am not going to wrestle an alligator
    I leave that for the Indians to do at the tourist action
    I personally think an AK with a couple of spare 30 round magazine’s should be sufficient
    From watching swamp people on TV it looks like the brain is further back in the skull then you would think

  7. Just don’t tell me that the 71 year old woman had a granddaughter called Polk Salad Annie whose mama was working on the chain gang. Now that would be a shame.

    • Great. Now that song is gonna be stuck in my head the rest of the night.
      Thanks buddy.

      • Don’t blame me. Blame that wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin’ woman. Lord have mercy.

  8. Being 71 is old only if you consider that you can’t do a lot of things you could at 30 or even 40 – and if you do, it’s gonna hurt a lot.

  9. Rabid bobcat attack in NH came not that long after the state’s efforts to re-open a season were thwarted by wailing by all the teary-eyed kitty-lovers appalled that anyone might enjoy shooting these cuddly critters.

  10. In Kerr and Gillespie Counties there have been Rabies outbreaks. Every couple of years I know Gillespie County does rabies oral preventive chews from the air and disease dies out.
    I don’t know if Kerr County does the same.
    If you have deer, wild rabbits, lots of small rodents,
    stray cats, you will have Coyotes. You may not seen them but they are there, along with Bobcats in Hays County. If you are missing a small dog or your outside cat, they didn’t get lost. They became dinner for a one or the other.

    • They have coyotes in Harris County (that’s Houston for y’all not from ’round here).

        • Are there any rural parts of Travis County? I’ve only been to Austin once, and I spent most of my time there watching a video in a windowless office. The closest thing to rural in Houston is the parks.

  11. Edit-also Texas Grey foxes are a real problem in Gilllspie County and to an extent Hays County. I doubt Hays County has done much. Although have heard helicopters overhead, could be dropping preventive chews.

    Welcome to Texas, lots of danergous critters to ruin your day.

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