The Douglas Archives

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Johnny Douglas, gator trapper, resigns

Johnny Douglas has spent half his life wading through swamps, waging war with cold-blooded hissing reptiles that are famous for their death rolls. But the 46-year-old Wildwood outdoorsman recently traded his bang stick for a weed whacker, taking up a new career as a landscaper.

Catching gators for a living just got too expensive for the former state-licensed alligator trapper, now that the market for hides is lower than the muck at the bottom of Lake Panasoffkee. Douglas, a second-generation trapper who has been catching alligators since he was 14, said he has quit the family business for good.

The average price for alligator hide these days is between $10 and $15 a foot, Douglas said. There was a time when hides fetched $50 to $60 a foot. Those were the days, he said.

"I was able to make a living at it, well, until the last two years," said Douglas. "Then, I've had to put money into it to try to make it work. It would take money to keep it going. I was dipping into my savings to catch gators."   Read more>>>

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