Chad Huffman of Greer killed the second gator of his life last week, but this one was much different than his first one, which he killed in 2011. “That first one was about nine-and-a-half feet long, but he didn’t weigh much at all in comparison to this one,” said Huffman.
This gator that Huffman killed in the river near Pack’s Landing, was 12.5-feet long and weighed over 800-pounds. Huffman was aided by Michael Niemitalo, Brian Bruce, and Stevie Pack, who was guiding the hunt.
Huffman said the size of the gator helped make this hunt memorable, but that it was memorable for other reasons as well.
“We saw the gator sunning himself as soon as we rounded a bend a few miles upriver. We got within about 75-yards of him, and that was too close for him, so he slipped into the river,” said Huffman.
With one hook in him, the gator went further underwater and stayed down for two hours. “We were pulling on the line, and started to wonder if the gator hadn’t given us the slip and left us hung on a submerged tree,” said Huffman.
“Stevie cranked the boat, and the gator shot out of the water. That’s the first time we really got a good look at him and could see just how big he was. We knew he was big, but until then, we didn’t think he was that big,” Huffman said.
Once the gator came up, Huffman threw a harpoon its way. “I was really too far away for the harpoon to do much damage, but I wanted to keep the gator from catching his breath,” he said.
The tactic worked, and with the gator diving again, the crew was able to get another treble hook in it, then another. “We ended up with three fishing lines in him, and also got a big snatch hook in him with a rope. We wrestled with him for a while, but we felt pretty good we had him at that point. We had enough control over him with the lines we had in him, so we let him tire himself out. We finally got him up close to the boat and that’s when we shot him,” said Huffman.
The four men tried to load the gator into the boat, but couldn’t lift the massive beast high enough, so they tied the gator off to the side of the boat, then Pack motored to a sandbar and called his brother Andy. Still unable to load the gator, they slowly made their way back to Pack's Landing with the gator tied on.
Back at the landing, they used a winch to load the gator, then took it to 301 Processing, who is processing the meat and will also be making a skull mount for Huffman.
“Gator hunting definitely takes a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without the help of those other guys, and Stevie was great to hunt with,” said Huffman.