Gators — got 'em: Two Rowan hunters bag big ones on South Carolina lakes
Rowan County might not be home to many alligators, but two hunters from around here have proved they can bag some big ones.
Jacob Dunn even picked up a new nickname with his first successful alligator hunt on Lake Marion in South Carolina.
This was the first time since 1964 the public has been allowed to hunt them in South Carolina. Hunters were required to get a permit and the limit is one alligator. Hunters must catch and restrain the gator first, and then pull the gator near or beside their boat before it can be killed with a handgun or bang stick (a wooden stick with an exploding cartridge.)
South Carolina held a lottery earlier this year for 1,000 available alligator permits. Hunters from all over the United States applied.
Dunn and three friends entered the lottery. Rick “Eskimo” Sutton and Dunn were the lucky ones who were picked to take part in the hunts.
On Sept. 13, Billy Reid, Randy Boger, Sutton and Dunn went for their first hunt. Dunn used a Cabela’s rod with 250-pound test line to try to snag what he guessed was an 8-footer.
“I fought the gator for over 45 minutes before getting it close enough to the boat to be shot. The gator took six shots to the head and was still not dead,” he said. “Pretty tough hide on that gator!”
When it was finally pulled out, it was measured at 11 feet, 10 inches long. It weighed more than 500 pounds.
“It is not every day someone local ‘bags’ an alligator,” said Dunn, who lives on Crescent Road in Salisbury. “My new nickname is ‘Gator’ Dunn.”
He was back hunting in South Carolina on Friday, but for deer this time.
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Kodi McKinney bagged an 11-foot, 3-inch alligator at Lake Moultrie the first time he got a tag allowing him to bowhunt in South Carolina.
He said he’s been a tournament bowhunter for fish for five years, and at 21, he’s already a licensed guide for saltwater and freshwater quarry.
After getting back, he and his hunting buddies used his uncle’s tractor to lift the estimated 750-pound gator for a photo. McKinney said he plans to tan the hide to make vests, and they’ve already cut the tail into steaks, taking four hours for three men to prepare it.
“It has a different taste, sort of like pork chop and shrimp. Wild gator has a different taste, like the difference between deer and beef,” he said. “It’s mighty good.”
McKinney said it was kind of a fluke that they got the alligator because he’d left his gun and all his specialized equipment at the hotel while they went bowhunting for fish on Lake Moultrie, but when they saw the big gator, he had to go for it. Since he didn’t have the heavy-duty line or special arrows, it took seven shots and two hours of wrestling to wear the gator out.
Dunn, who lives in Granite Quarry, said he’s ready to take others out on a hunt, if you’d like to call him at Fatal Flight Bowfishing Guide Service, 704-202-2706.