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South Carolina woman kills 800-pound, 12-foot alligator

September 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM

The Associated Press

MANNING, S.C. (AP) — It wasn’t your typical catch.

On a recent Sunday morning, a 23-year-old Hopkins woman, her fiance and two guides left Randolph’s Landing at 9:30 a.m. to hunt alligators. They didn’t have to travel far to find their prey.

Within 15 minutes, Kayla McGuire had bagged an 800-pound, 12-foot alligator with a .44-caliber magnum pistol.

“‘Oh my God. Oh my God.’ Those were my first thoughts,” McGuire said. “I really wasn’t ready, but I had to get ready really quick.”

McGuire, who has been hunting for just three years, said she had wanted to bag a big gator — maybe a 6- or 7-footer.

“My fiance and I want to travel hunt,” she added. “I thought hunting an alligator would be a challenge. It would be the perfect hunt. I had no idea what an adrenalin rush it would be. There is absolutely no way I will ever forget this.”

McGuire said she’s getting the meat processed and saving the hide with the idea of maybe having something made with it. The gator’s head is being mounted by a taxidermist in Charleston.

She didn’t nab the gator all by herself, McGuire admitted. She had help from guides Eugene “Gene” Finkbeiner and Randy Donley of D4 Outfitters in Sumter.

“I scouted him out a few days earlier,” Donley said. “We knew pretty much where he’d be.”

Once the guides spotted the gator, they threw a hook line over his back and pulled him toward the boat close enough for McGuire to make the shot.

The 12-footer was the ninth gator that Finkbeiner and Donley have helped harvest since alligator season opened in 2009.

“This was our second largest,” Donley said. “Our largest measured 13.3 feet long.”

While Donley wouldn’t tell the exact location where McGuire made the catch, he did say it was “very close to Randolph’s.”

McGuire said the trip home was exciting too.

It’s not every day that motorists see a huge alligator tail sticking out the back of a pickup truck.

“Driving home on the interstate, we had people pulling up beside us, rolling down their windows and asking us questions,” she said. “People were taking pictures. It was crazy.”

Now that she’s nabbed her first gator, McGuire said she’s hooked.

“I’m gonna keep putting my name into the drawing,” she said. “I can’t wait to do this again.”

Alligator hunting season stretches from Sept. 8 to Oct. 13. All hunters pay a $10 non-refundable application fee to have their names put into a random computer drawing with a predetermined number of names drawn each year.

The number of names or tags is determined by the alligator population, according to Lt. Robert McCullough with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

“We have a lot of alligators right now,” he said. “This year we issued up to 1,000 tags. If the population of alligators drops, then we won’t issue as many tags. It’s a management tool for controlling the alligator population.”

Hunters are divided into four zones that are located in the eastern portion of South Carolina. No alligator hunting is allowed in the western portions of the state. Clarendon and Sumter counties are located in Zone 3, while Lee County is in Zone 4.

McCullough said Zone 3, which includes all of Lake Marion, has some big alligators.

“Now, you’ve got some big alligators around the lake,” he said. “Some as big as 15 to 16 feet.”

In his 30 years with DNR, McCullough said he’s only heard of a handful of cases where alligators and people have a problem.

“They usually don’t come around people,” he said. “They pretty much stay off by themselves.”


Information from: The Item,

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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