Detroit man shoots 6-foot alligator near thumb of Michigan

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A Detroit man survived an encounter with a 6-foot long alligator in Silverwood, Michigan, near the state's thumb.

Derrick Fells shot the alligator while at his vacation home, on 17 acres of land near Shay Lake in Tuscola County on Saturday.

He went down to a pond area when he spotted it. 

"I head down and say something looks different," he said. "I get there and the alligator raises up, turns toward me and charges."

Fells' right hand is broken and in a cast, leaving him to use his left hand.

"I get my pistol - I am right handed, so you know it was a difficult shot, and I shoot him in the head," he said. "Then I immediately called 911."

Michigan State Police and the county sheriff arrived and found that the gator was from a neighbor who is a reptile rescue and had escaped.

"The owner came out with the police and said 'I didn't know it got out, Derrick, I am sorry and I'm glad you are the one who shot it,'" Derrick said, adding that he believed the alligator had been on his property a couple days.

Fells said he is hunter and knew to shoot it in the head. He said by shooting it in the eye, it paralyzed it. He later had to shoot it two additional times. 

"I have never seen anything like it," Fells said. "By it coming at me, it startled me. I knew for a fact if I back up and it gets into the water, it was not going to be found."

He said he holds an annual camping trip on his property from between 40 to 60 people on his property at the start of August.

"After shooting the alligator, I decided to bring it back here," he said. "Only because taxidermy is where it was going to go but I never got called back." 

So Fells learned from watching YouTube videos how to do it himself with the help of his fiance who he joked, was his right hand.

"It was a learning experience for me," he said. "And mission: accomplished. Thank you YouTube."