Monday, December 15, 2014

Gator Huntin' Fool!

I guess since it's almost Christmas, I should get around to writing about my birthday, huh? :-)

September 22, 2014.


Seriously... I made memories people.  

Not only did I make memories, but I checked off item numero uno on my Bucket List.  

Yep.  That's right!! I went alligator hunting!! Or as we folks down south like to call it, "Gator Huntin". 

It was a beautiful day for it, too... as you can see here.

I have to send a "shout out" of thanks to my friends Mike and Eddie.  What great guys!! 

I mean, really... how many dudes do YOU know that would take a CHICK with them... a sissified, prissy chick like me, no less... out hunting for an alligator?!?!?  Well these two did, and I am eternally grateful!!  

This is a picture of the landing where we "set sail" for our adventure.

See, we'd been talking about this for a couple of years.  

In South Carolina you have to enter a lottery. In June you pay a ten dollar entry fee to have your name placed in a drawing.  And you better bet your sweet bippy that this gal has entered that drawing a time or two!! 

But this year Mike entered the drawing and his name was selected!! At that point, you pay $100 for the tag.  (We are only allowed ONE TAG per hunter in SC.)  

Then, during gator season, you get to go hunting...

Now, it's not like in those shows where you get to bait lines and go back and check and see if you caught one.. No sir.  You have a pole, and a hook... and your eyes.  

That's it.  

You are literally HUNTING for them. 

The cool thing is we had three pairs of eyes in our boat, so we could spot those gator eyes pretty quickly. That wasn't the problem.

The problem is hooking those boogers!! They will go down to the bottom in a heartbeat, and then you're just stuck waiting... Sometimes they'd resurface and we'd try again.  Sometimes they wouldn't and we'd move on.

This is a little baby one that we caught way early in the day.  We decided he wasn't worth the 100 bucks the tag costed, so we let him go.  But he sure gave us an exciting "practice round"!! 

We rode through many a slough, some so narrow that you could reach out and touch brush on either side of the boat.  Here I was thinking... "What if a gator decides to catch us and slides right on in??" Luckily we didn't have to worry about that. ;-)

Below you can see an example of a gator slide.

We rode around all. day. long.  Looking for gators.  We found many.  And tried like the devil to hook those suckers.  But to no avail.  We lost two of our three hooks in the process.  The sun was getting low in the sky, and we decided to turn back and call it a day.  

Just then, we saw him. 

It was as if he was taunting us.  

"Come on.  Come and get me.  Let's see what y'all have got."  

Ever so slowly he swam across the channel.  Mike took aim.  Again.  And again.  Finally!! 


Of course he went straight down to the bottom.  We maneuvered the boat closer to his position and waited.  Mike kept reeling the line.  Mr. Gator wasn't budging.  Then suddenly he began to rise.

When he surfaced we could see that he was about 8-9 feet long.  (We were hoping for at least 10 but at this point we were THRILLED!!)  Now came the hard part.  Mike had to wrestle him close enough to the boat so Eddie could harpoon him. Once that was accomplished, we could get out the "Bang Bang Stick" and shoot him in his quarter-sized kill spot at the base of his head.

I was frantically making room in the boat for our catch.  Moving coolers and trash from our snacks out of the way.  Eddie came to the side of the boat and took a stab.  He missed!  The gator took off and went to rolling.   

And he rolled.  

And Mike fought.  

Trying desperately to win control so we could get another shot.  

Another boat had come up and was watching.  We were all so excited and had "all hands on deck" so no one was taking pics or getting any video.  The guys in the other boat had their phones out... recording. (Said they were all set to send it in to ESPN!)

Well, I'm sorry to say... Mr. Eight-To-Nine broke our line.  

Yep. That was our last hook.

Yep. That was the end of our day.

Even though we weren't able to catch our gator that day, it was still one of the best days and most wonderful adventures of my life.  We saw beautiful landscapes and tons of wildlife.  

I even saw something I have never seen before... a Bald Eagle take flight.  

It took my breath away.

I will never forget it.  Never ever.

Maybe someday I will win my very own Gator Tag... 

and then Mike and Eddie just might take me out again...

For one more try. 

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