Mandy Stokes uncased a 20-gauge shotgun, loaded it and pointed it at the sweet spot behind the eyes and at the base of the neck where she’d been told to aim by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division instructors at a mandatory training class.

When she pulled the trigger, however, the gator’s head was too far below the water’s surface, rendering the shot’s impact useless in its primary purpose of killing the animal.

It did elicit a quick response, however.

“All it did was make this gator mad,” Mandy Stokes said. “Fear had taken hold at this point.”

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