Mandy Broadway of Greenville, S.C. finally drew an alligator tag on her third try, and she was determined to make good on it. So determined, that after hunting all day unsuccessfully on Saturday, Sept. 10, she decided to go the next day too. It paid off for her in the form of an 11-foot, 4-inch long gator from Santee near Elliot’s Landing.

“On Saturday, we saw plenty of gators, but none of them were very big, and I wanted to kill a big one. I didn’t settle for a small one,” she said.

Broadway got help from three friends from Sumter. Ernie Seruya, Robert Nuzzo, and Kelly Logan aided her in the hunt, and when things didn’t work out on Saturday, Seruya suggested checking out some places the next day that he was familiar with. Seruya has experience with big gators, so Broadway was happy to follow his lead.

After leaving Pack’s Landing around 8 a.m., the four friends spotted some sizable gators pretty quickly, and saw a couple that they planned to circle back for if nothing better came up. Switching between the outboard and trolling motors, they saw a better gator, and Broadway knew it was the one she wanted.

“It was just beautiful, gliding through the water, and I knew right away that was Reynolds,” said Broadway, mentioning the name she’d decided for the gator.

Seruya and Nuzzo began casting at the gator with rods and reels, and luckily got some treble hooks in it quickly. Once the gator realized it was hooked, it began swimming away, and Nuzzo’s hook slipped free. By then though, Logan had put a treble into the gator too, and between the three of them, they were able to keep at least two hooks secured throughout the fight as Broadway prepared herself for the kill shot.

In time, Seruya and Nuzzo got a harpoon and a grappling hook in the gator, pulled it to the side of the boat, and Broadway finished it off with a 1911 .45.

“Once they got him beside the boat, I put two shots in the soft spot,” said Broadway, “just to make sure.”

Broadway is getting a head mount to honor the gator and the hunt, and she’s contemplating what she will have done with the hide. She had no problem deciding on what to do with the meat though. She is having it processed into gator bites and gator ribs.

“I’ve had gator bites before, and Ernie (Seruya) said the ribs are delicious. He was right on where to find the big gator, so I’m trusting him on this too,” said Broadway, who ranks this outdoor adventure with friends as one of her favorites.