On the evening of October the 9, a group of alligator hunters put in at Blacks Camp Marina on their first ever gator hunt with hopes of tagging out on the last evening of the season. They Summerville party met their goal, killing a 13-foot 7 1/2-inch gator.
“We had never alligator hunted before. I put my name in the drawing for four years and this was the first time we were picked,” said Henry Nettles, who was joined on the hunt by his stepson Kyle Pope, and his buddies Dale Daigle and Michael Dominguez.
With little gator sign in the cove at Black’s Camp, the party made a run down to Cross in Nettles’ 17.5-foot Duracraft aluminum boat. While shining their light into a large cove looking for gators sitting in the dark, they spotted the reflection of eyes from what appeared to be an extremely large gator. “The gator was in the cove by himself and never made any attempt to come out,” said Nettles
Sneaking their boat toward the gator, Nettles got the first hook up at about 2AM. “When we first hooked the gator we worked the boat toward him as he stuck to the bottom,” said Nettles. “We shined the light into the water and saw that the base of the gators tale was about two feet wide. We all got a little nervous after seeing the size of this gator.”
Trying to get better control of the beast, they decided to get a second hook in the gator. “Every time my buddy Dale tried to get a second hook into the gator, it would freak out and throw the hook,” said Nettles. “The gator must have broken off almost a dozen times. But luckily the water was shallow enough we could track the gator by his bubbles.” Pope was able to catch most of the fight on camera as he was franticly moving around to keep lines untangled.
“As the sun was coming up, the gator seemed to become more angry and fought a lot harder,” said Nettles. After throwing Dominguez’s first gaff set, the second one was a solid puncture into the gators thick hide. When they put the first bullet from their Ruger 40 into the gator’s head, the gator rolled violently and threw the gaff again. They fired a few more shots into the gator’s soft-spot to end the battle, then began the long haul back to the ramp at 10 a.m.
“My motor was overheating, so the tow back to the ramp took longer than what we hoped for,” said Nettles. Once at the ramp, they received help loading the gator into Nettles’ truck bed and headed down to Cordray's Processing and Taxidermy to get the gator measured and weighed. The beast measured 13’ 7 ½” long and weighed 762lbs.
“When I realized how big it was in the beginning I never thought we would get it in,” Said Nettles. “I guess persistence paid off.”
To read about another big gator killed this season, visit here.