Brad Leigher and Hunter Neeley didn’t know what surprises were awaiting them when they hit the water at the start of South Carolina’s Alligator Hunting Season. The two hunters had been preparing their gear and checking everything over twice to ensure a safe and successful hunting season. However, what happened that early morning in Santee, South Carolina would stun everyone!
Let’s follow along with the hunters, as they tell us their story.
We were super excited about the start of the gator hunting season here in South Carolina that we could barely sleep the night before the opener. We hit the water hard everyday for several days. The day we hit pay-dirt was an early morning after a long weekend of scouting and hunting from that Friday afternoon until Monday morning – which was the opening of South Carolina Alligator season.
We’d watched the sun rise three days in a row looking for the alligator we wanted – only sleeping a few hours each day. On the 18th hour of straight hunting, on day three, we finally found the one.
He surfaced at fifty feet [away] from our boat; just before we were about to give up and head home for the day. Once we spotted him. We decided to stalk him, by boat. As one and a half, hours slipped by we remained steadfast; chasing and waiting for our moment at the huge gator.
The gator surfaced and then went right back under-water before Brad could finally get a hook on him. While Brad has him hooked by rod and reel. I quickly took a bow & arrow and a harpoon to get him to the boat. Before we could get him close enough to finish him off with the chrome of a .45 to his dome. He lashed back and took a bite at the side of my boat.
Using his powerful tail and his massive body weight that old gator started pushing the entire boat sideways! Moving quickly, so that gator didn’t flip our boat sending the both of us into the drink, I took up my harpoon, and made a careful aim at the gator’s small kill-spot on the top of his head – Bam! It was over that quick, and the gator rolled over in the water – dispatched.
After getting the gator’s mouth securely taped shut. Brad and I sat there holding the behemoth gator at the side of the boat. Asking ourselves, ‘How the H*CK are we gonna get this freaking thing in the boat?’ Luckily, to our delight there was another group of hunters out on the water that morning; the Elrod family.
They heard our shouts of joy and gun shots. So, they came over our way to see what all the excitement was about. When they arrived and saw the beast, we had gotten. They offered to assist us in getting the gator out of the water and in the boat.
After, we got back to the landing we headed straight to the processor. The monster gator ended up measuring a whopping 12ft. 9 inches and tipped the scales at 603lbs.