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LUSBY, Md. – A Maryland man, who found a nearly 8-foot alligator in a pond off Chesapeake Bay, caught it with chicken breasts as bait and then fatally shot it with a crossbow.

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William Adams, 43, of Lusby, told The Washington Post that he had been trying to remove the reptile from the family’s favorite kayaking spot since early June.

Adams and his teenage son were fishing from a kayak that weekend when he drifted toward a pile of trees that had fallen into the water.

“I looked down and about a foot away was a big alligator head,” Adams told the newspaper. “That’s all I could see.”

Adams rowed away from the area and got out of the water, along with his son.

Over this past weekend, Adams set up trap lines with hooks to catch the alligator, WJLA reported. On Sunday, Adams, his son and a friend found the alligator on a beach and used a crossbow to kill it, the television station reported.

“People were saying how I shouldn’t have done it because it’s tame,” Adams told WJLA. “A tame alligator? In a foreign habitat without its usual food source? I’d hate to see it go after someone’s pet, or even a child on the beach. There are kids running around all the time near there.”

Adams said the gator measured 7 feet, 6 inches, and estimated that it weighed 150 to 175 pounds, the Post reported. He plans to have the reptile stuffed by a taxidermist and mount it in a trophy room at his house.

Adams told WJLA he took the alligator home and “had some for dinner last night.”

Reaction was mixed on social media after news of the alligator’s killing became public. While some people supported Adams’ actions, others wondered why he did not contact wildlife authorities, the Post reported.

Adams’ wife, Jessica Adams, defended her husband’s actions Monday in a Facebook post.

“My husband is not just a mean animal-hating man,” Jessica Adams wrote in her post. “He hunts, he fishes and he eats everything that he hunts for. He also is an animal lover and has rescued and saved many.”

“We are an animal-loving family,” Jessica Adams continued. “It’s not every day you see an almost 8-foot alligator swimming around in a pond near the beaches your children and pets swim at.

“He did what he thought was best and he has no regrets. I will not respond to any negative comments, what’s done is done.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources was unsuccessful in finding the alligator after a report in May, Adams told WJLA. The agency told the television station in a statement that it never confirmed an alligator sighting in Calvert County.

“Maryland Natural Resources Police are still consulting with allied agencies, local and federal, on this matter,” DNR Gregg Bortz said in a statement. “There have been occasional rumors of alligators in the Calvert County area previously but none could be confirmed by DNR. We have had alligators or other non-native crocodilians show up in the wild in Maryland in the past. Occasionally people who have illegally kept pet alligators release them into the wild.”

“There are no Maryland state laws against killing an alligator,” Bortz told the Post.