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Great-Grandma Slays Massive 12-Foot Gator That She Claims Ate Her Miniature Horse

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A word of wisdom to any predators lurking around Judy Cochran's ranch in Texas: you should probably reconsider attempting to eat one of her pets. That's because, even though she may appear to be a gentle great-grandmother, she does not mess around... and may very well hunt you down with her Winchester .22 Magnum like she did a massive 12-foot alligator over the weekend that she believes killed her miniature horse. 

Cochran, who has long been convinced a certain gator on her ranch in Goodrich, Texas gobbled up her miniature horse a few years ago, believes she finally avenged its death when she slayed the 12-foot, 580-pound beast with a single shot on Sunday. She also made sure she was well within her rights to do so, waiting until it was technically gator-hunting season to go in for the kill.

"There are a lot of requirements to kill a gator in Polk County," she told the Houston Chronicle in an interview. "We're one of 12 counties that has a hunting season for alligators, between Sept. 10 and 30. You have to have a permit and tags from a wildlife biologist, and you have to catch it on a hook first. We don't just go to the ranch and hunt a gator."

Cochran, who also happens to be the newly elected mayor of the nearby town of Livingston, is all but certain the toothy reptile she offed is the one behind the demise of her mini horse. 

"We think this is the gator that ate one of our miniature horses several years ago, as big as this gator was, he could've easily eaten it," she told the Chronicle. "Typically the gators don't bother us, but we've been looking for (this one)."

To ensure the hunt was ethical, she first had some handlers catch the gator on a hook using a "seasoned" raccoon in her pond, before taking out her rifle and shooting. She's also made arrangements to ensure none of the beast goes to waste. A local taxidermist will process it to have the part of the tail and head mounted for her office, and she and her family will eat the meat. She also wants to have the belly hide tanned so they can make some boots out of it. 

As for what she has to say to any other beast that dares lay a finger (or jaw) on her pets?

"Don't mess with Nana!" she said. 

h/tHouston Chronicle

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.