Hunters Tag Monster Gator 625 pounds from SC Swamp

Alligator seasons are on across the southeastern United States — and South Carolina’s opening weekend was one for the books. At a taxidermy and butcher shop in the Lowcountry of the Palmetto State, about 18 gators were checked out on Sept. 10 alone.

Among them was an absolute giant that was 13 meters long and tipped the scales at 625 kilograms. The giant gator was pulled from the shallow waters of Lake Marion — 110,000 acres of prime alligator habitat south of Congaree National Park.

large alligator taken in South Carolina
The sizable reptile was taken during the opening weekend of South Carolina’s alligator season. Cordray’s Processing via Facebook.

Kenneth Cordray, whose family owns Cordray’s Venison Processing in Ravenel, South Carolina, says the gator was one of the largest he’s ever dealt with at the shop, where he’s been processing alligators since 2008. “When you get over 500 pounds and get to 13 feet … that’s a big alligator,” Cordray said Field & Stream. “We get a lot of 12-footers and a lot of 100-, 200- and 300-pounders, but when they get past that mark, it’s rare.”

Cordray says three alligator hunters — Adam, Noah and Nick Gilbert — brought the massive lizard into his shop late Saturday night, Sept. 10. “They were out on their first gator hunt ever,” he said. “They saw a big gator, followed the bubbles and tied it.”

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Successfully harvesting an alligator of that caliber on a first-time outing is no small feat, Cordray said, but the retrieval method the three hunters used made their story all the more compelling. “They didn’t hit him with a harpoon or shoot him with a bow fishing gear. They just threw a big treble hook and pulled the thing in,” he said. “That’s pretty impressive.”

South Carolina hunters use giant treble hooks to bag massive 625-pound gators
According to the SCDNR, South Carolina is home to approximately 100,000 porters.
Cordray’s Processing via Facebook.

Lake Marion is one of three large lakes in the Santee Basin of South Carolina. With its shallow, log-filled water, full of large marshes, it is prime alligator habitat that attracts many hunters each year. In 2010, a gator weighing 1,025 pounds was taken from Lake Moultrie, the lowest of the three Santee Basin lakes.

That gator was taken by a Massachusetts hunter named Maryellen Mara-Christenson. According to Charleston Post & CourierThe South Carolina Department of Natural Resources doesn’t keep an official alligator record book, but Mara-Christenson’s 2010 monster is widely recognized as the largest gator ever to emerge from a South Carolina swamp.

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