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Alligator danger

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SMITH COUNTY (KYTX) - It's summer, and that means time fishing, or by the lake

But it's also time people are spotting alligators.

That's especially true around this part of Lake Tyler.

The game warden says his office has gotten calls about gator sightings this summer, and a few right here.

This is a gator's natural habitat, marshy, thick with vegetation, and food.

From the water under the bridge of Highway 64 at Lake Tyler, to golf courses like Lake Fork, gators are all over East Texas and it might surprise you when they pop up.

"They've always ben on my mind, but yesterday was a reality check," says Jerry Starr who spotted a gator Thursday.

Starr was fishing here, when he thought a beaver was in the water.

"Not going to catch anything with this guy in the area. So, I figured I'd cast out and try to move him. And when I did, that's when he snapped my cork," says Starr.

"Someone out fishing would see before anyone out skiing, tubing or swimming," says Game Warden Brad Clark.

He says this is prime real estate for gators, and says most gators aren't going to stick around and mess with you.

"Don't like people, don't want to be see by people, and if they do see people, they're going to leave," says Clark.

He says this gator may have been curious because he was just a few years old.

But generally, they're not a problem for people.

Still a surprise visit for Starr.

"He didn't put up a struggle or any aggressiveness. But when I pulled him in on the bank, got two legs on the bank, he did open his mouth," says Starr.

Leaving him with a tale about a bite that was a little bigger than expected.

"In a minute or two he started rolling a little bit, and rolled off the hook. That was fine with me," says Starr.

The game warden did tell us if you see a gator, and it hasn't run off, the best thing you can do is leave the area and make a lot of noise to scare it off.

This was the first call to the game warden's office about an alligator on Lake Tyler in the last few months.

The game warden says recent rain may have something to do with it as well.

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