Oral History Interviews:
Ted "Gator" Meyer
Ted Meyer grew up in Florida. He loved all outdoor activities and spent most of his time hunting, fishing and trapping. In his late teens, Meyer began wrestling alligators at a local tourist attraction. Hence, his well-known nickname.
"Gator" moved to Alaska in his mid-twenties and settled in the small Interior community of Anderson. The Alaskan wilderness fostered his love of the outdoors. The area surrounding Anderson served as the focal point for his hunting, fishing and trapping. However, he also pursued these activities in many far-flung regions of the State.
Gator speaks at-length about his trapping exploits... from learning the ropes as a new resident to the State through his later role as an accomplished trapper who shares his knowledge with others. Gator talks extensively about hunting moose, Dall sheep, bear, and deer. He also shares his views on proper management of wildlife populations and the role that ethical hunters play in this process.
Gator had artistic ability from a young age. He pursued this talent later in life and became a consummate carver of ivory, bone and antler. His carved antler knife handles are works of art which are highly-prized by collectors. Gator describes the sometimes rocky road that his son (Ted, Jr.) followed to develop this same craft.
Gator was a legend within the ranks of the Alaska Trappers Association. His success on the 'line was documented by many photographs which appeared in the monthly ATA magazine. In addition, his generous donations of carved knives and antler augmented our treasury. Perhaps most importantly, trappers recognized Gator as a man of integrity. In all of these different roles, Gator earned the respect of his fellow trappers.
(This interview was recorded on July 11, 2007. Gator passed away on February 19, 2008).