September 30, 2011
Gator hunting has become super popular since the debut of Swamp People on the History Channel, but for years gator hunting has been my absolute favorite hunt. If I could only hunt one animal for the rest of my life it would be gators. Sure that may seem crazy to many people, but it's probably the hunt I look forward to most each year. I hunt with friends in South Carolina who have the perfect gator killing boat, knowledge of the area, and they are incredible gator hunters.
For people who haven't been lucky enough try alligator hunting in South Carolina, you first need to understand there are many ways to hunt them. Each state has different rules, but in South Carolina I usually hunt them at night with my bow. To do this we shine lights to find their creepy red eyes and slowly close the distance depending on the amount of space between the glowing eyes. It's really a different form of field judging an animal and takes some getting used to.
To add to the fun we often times call these beasts right to the boat. Gators are a predator and can be called very easily at night when they usually feed. The call that we've found most effective is a baby gator sound. This tends to bring gators from all over right to your boat. The males usually come to eat the baby gator and the females will come to protect the little one.
This is my third year hunting South Carolina for gators and one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is because of the quality of the gators and the great guys I hunt with. They truly have some monsters around and my first year out in South Carolina I was lucky enough to take a huge 11'1'' gator with my bow. Last year I had a close encounter with the biggest gator I have ever seen and he still lives in my dreams to this day! After waiting an entire year the time had finally come to head back to the swamp! My goal was to try calling gators during the day and hopefully shoot one with the rifle from shore. My wish was partially granted on day 2 and I was able to shoot a beautiful 10'1'' gator with my T/C Encore .300 Win. Mag. As much as I was hoping to call the gator right onto shore, I decided against it when we spotted this giant only 50-yards from the edge of the swamp.
After a bit of scrambling I was finally settled in with my bipods on the front of my gun and my bog pod pistol platform as a backrest. It was similar to shooting from a bench and this was really important because with gator hunting it truly comes down to precision shooting. Even though you may be shooting at a 10-foot gator, there is really only a 2-inch spot to take a gator's brain out, so you need to make your shot count!
Once you fire your shot you need to have a plan setup to quickly get to the gator as fast as possible! Gators have a tendency to sink once hit so getting to them immediately will greatly help in your recovery. Upon recovery of the my swamp monster I was blown away to see I had shot another beautiful South Carolina coming in at 10'1''. Once again it was a truly an adrenaline pumping hunt, and the best part is I now have enough gator meat for an entire year! Anyone up for some gator bites this weekend??
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.