Laura Griffin of Anderson drew her first ever gator tag this year, and while her husband has been on several gator hunts over the years, the 2017 season was her first time looking for a swamp lizard. She found one, and it was a good one. Griffin killed a 12-foot, 7-inch gator out of Santee while hunting with her husband and several friends on opening weekend.

Griffin and her husband stayed at Hill’s Landing with a group of friends, two of whom also had drawn gator tags for this season. They killed their quarry that same day too. Griffin’s was the biggest, with the other two measuring 12-foot, 2-inches and 11-foot, 6-inches.

The hunt started the day before the season opened as they scouted an area near Angel’s Boat Landing. When she saw the big creature, she pointed and told her husband “I want to get that one.”

At noon the next day, the crew was back on the water in the spot they’d last seen the gator she’d picked out, and it wasn’t long before they spied him again. With a big rod and reel, they sunk a large treble hook into the gator, but the animal quickly freed itself.

“We hooked him once and he got away, so we started casting again but we couldn’t see him. After about 45 minutes, my husband asked me if I wanted to move. I thought about it because I was thinking about our other friends, and them wanting to fill their tags too. I didn’t want to waste a lot of time, but I really wanted that gator, so we tried a little more,” said Griffin.

Finally, they hooked her target again. 

“We got three hooks in him this time, and by the time we got him to the surface, he was exhausted. We got a gaff in him and brought it to the boat. I shot him three times with my .38 special,” she said.

Once she found out she’d drawn a tag this year, Griffin said she was looking forward to the hunt, but she enjoyed it even more than she thought she would.

“My husband goes every year with a group of friends. At least one of them always gets a tag, but I’d never gone before this year. I was looking forward to it and I knew I was going to enjoy it, but it was even more fun than I had thought it would be. It was exciting, and I can’t wait to do it again,” she said.