Friday, September 17, 2010

Northern lady takes Southern GATOR

Guide Kevin Davis congratulates Maryellen Mara-Christian
Maryellen and Mark in the photo by Kevin Davis
 When Maryellen Christian traveled to South Carolina to hunt a gator during the 2009 season, she was not able to harvest anything. Back for more in 2010 with her husband Mark, she was not only able to use her tag, she took one of the most massive alligators that has ever been brought into Black’s Fish Camp, one that went over 13-feet in length and weighed over 1000-pounds.

Measuring 4.5-inches beyond 13-feet, guide Kevin Davis said, “This is our third year of guiding for gators, but I’ve never seen anything like this one. The girth on the belly measured 79-inches and it looked to me like you could have fit a 55-gallon drum in it, and the same goes for the base of his tail – it was just an unusually large specimen.”

Putting in at Black’s Camp in Cross, S.C. on Wednesday, September 15, the trio of hunters set out at 8 a.m. for a full day’s hunt. Driving into the cut that enters the diversion canal near the Santee Cooper Lakes, Davis spotted the big gator at 8:10. “As many times as I’ve used this cut, I had never seen this giant before and we were literally hooked up using a snatch hook by 8:10 a.m.,” said Davis.

Using three different rods and reels rigged with snatch hooks, they battled the big fella for two hours, as the gator continued to stay close to the bank during the entire fight, not choosing to swim for open water. The gator kept using overhanging trees like wax myrtles to rub off the snatch hooks. At one point he managed to break free of all the lines, but Davis kept more rods ready and the South Carolina Sportsman Field Reporter kept his clients in the game.

Eventually they employed two harpoons, a snout snare, and eight pistol shots to subdue the beast, with a final coups de gras coming from a huge Bowie knife that was gouged between the vertebrae to make sure he would not fight when being tied to the side of the 24-foot Ranger boat that Davis uses.

“We were back at the landing by about 10:30 a.m. and we used a backhoe to life the gator out of the water,” said Davis. “We took him to 301 Taxidermy in Florence and used their 5,000-pound calibrated scale to verify his weight at 1025-pounds. The Christians’ are getting the head mounted as a trophy. We have had television stations in Massachusetts broadcast this story, but no one has got all the details right, so I’m glad to let the Sportsman readers know that real deal.”

Mary ellen had the gator tag in her name, and the Christian’s had to pay the new fee for out-of-state gator hunters this year, which was $200 apiece. With gator tag, out-of-state hunting licenses and guide fees – they spent close to $1000 to come hunt in South Carolina. Mark is a bear hunting guide in Maine and a commercial fisherman in Massachusetts, and now he has a trophy gator story to add to his resume.

To view a past blog entry about gator hunting click here.

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