A few years ago, the crew of New Wave Taxidermy in Stuart, Florida have a large task at hand. Owner Mike Kirkhart, his son Buddy Kirkhart, and Justin Herron have been commissioned to create a skin mount for the state of Mississippi, along with a full-size fiberglass reproduction of an alligator gar.
Kirkhart brought, what is considered to be the largest alligator gar on record, to the taxidermy shop. Weighing in at 327 pounds, transporting this nearly 8.5 foot fish estimated to be 50-75 years old was certainly a challenge in itself.
The massive fish was caught by Kenny Williams of Vicksburg, Mississippi in a net in Chotard Lake in Issaquena County in Mississippi. Rather than for sport or trophy, Williams' catch was a result of the prehistoric fish becoming tangled in the net.
The alligator gar is the largest freshwater fish in North America. It got its name from the shape of its teeth and long snout, which make it look something like an alligator.
“When we reproduce it, we're reproducing its beauty, not its death. In a sense, we're bringing it back to life.”
– Mike Kirkhart, New Wave Taxidermy
The finished mount was transported back to Mississippi where it has been placed on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.