My late mother-in-law (Wanda) used to say “There is always, always something to be thankful for!” How right she was!
This year didn’t start out very well for me. I lost a family member who meant so very much to me just a few days after Christmas. I sank into a depression that lasted for a few months. In January I even decided that I was going to dissolve Alligator Alliance. That thought didn’t last long (obviously), but I just wanted to give an example of what mindset I was in at that time.
With the New Year also came the realization that NC would have its first alligator hunting season in 45 years. However, we were very thankful that only 20 permits were issued and they were ALL in Hyde County! Those permits weren’t cheap. Each application cost $8 and each permit cost $250. We were even more thankful that out of those 20 permits that were purchased, only ONE alligator was killed! So that means that 19 hunters paid $258 for the opportunity to harvest an alligator and they weren’t able to find one. Wild alligators (not illegally fed, “food conditioned” alligators) are very shy and illusive. They flee from humans. They are also very well camouflaged and extremely hard to see.
The funniest thing we heard all year long was what hunter Jeffrey Raub said in an interview with CBS 17 in October:
"I don't understand why the county manager and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission would allow this opportunity if there's nothing there. It would be like having a unicorn season in Johnston County. The initial thought was a lot of excitement. It looks like some great alligator habitat. The problem is there aren't any alligators."
Thank you Jeffrey! That comment about the unicorn hunting season made us laugh until tears rolled down our faces!
North Brunswick Magazine contacted us and wanted to do an article about Alligator Alliance (we ended up making the front cover of the Summer issue). Carolina Country Magazine contacted us about doing a features article (that came out in July). We can’t thank both publications enough for these articles! It gave us exposure that we never dreamed of getting! We are so very thankful for both opportunities!
I am very thankful to one of my best friends (Kim) who always has a guest bedroom ready for me. All I have to do is pick up the phone and text her and she says “Come on down!” We are also very thankful to our new friends Dawn and Jeff for allowing us to stay in their guest house.
We are very thankful to our realtor (Shelly Vaughan-Morrow) for helping us search for land AND the future home of Alligator Alliance! I know our list of requirements was very long, but she never, ever gave up on finding us exactly what we wanted!
And, last but not least, I am so very thankful for my husband (John), who gave up an ENTIRE SUMMER of fishing, just so he could help me find new alligators and clean habitats! The last time he went fishing was on May 25th! Due to all of the exposure both magazine articles gave us, we had more people to talk to than the last 8 years combined!
I am so thankful that my love of alligators that started in July of 2010 (when I saw my first one in the wild) has grown to something beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I am thankful that I was able to turn my alligator obsession into Alligator Alliance!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Please count your blessings. And remember, there is always, always something to be thankful for!!!