With the hopes of tagging a big gator on the morning of September 26th, Michael DuPre of Moncks Corner, and three of his hunting buddies pulled up to a gas station to fill up their boats. Robert Gregory of Moncks Corner, Ty Parker of Pageland, and Josh Kowalski of Summerville, were accompanying him on the hunt. The group has been hunting gators together in SC for the past four years. This year, Gregory drew a tag for the Midlands and they were planning to tag a big gator.
“I pulled up to pump number thirteen at the gas station,” said DuPre. “My Grandma died on the 13th a few years back and I did not want to get any bad luck on this hunt. I was debating on moving the truck to another pump to fill up, but we all ended up joking around saying how we were going to kill a 13 footer on this hunt.”
They put in at the north end of Lake Marion and were met by choppy waves and white caps. Despite the conditions, the group headed out on their two boats in search of a big gator they had seen a few seasons before.
“We did not do much scouting, and we ended up getting my boat stuck on a shallow spot. At about that same time, the battery on my boat was dying, so that needed to be changed,” said DuPre.
After getting the boat unstuck, the group headed to a cove where they had seen a few nice gators in previous seasons. They passed some smaller ones in the lily pads hoping to find a much larger one. In the back of the cove they spotted the head of a massive gator that they deemed worthy of going after.
“The big boy popped his head out of the water and we decided he was the one,” said DuPre. “We were joking with one another how we should have pulled up to pump number 14.”
Gregory and Parker moved their boat in for the kill and Gregory secured one hook into the gator. “He ran shallow and had his tail out of the water thrashing the entire time. The rod was beginning to crack as the gator busted though the shallow stumps,” said DuPre.
Unfortunately DuPre’s motor was having a difficult time keeping up with the other boat, so he and Kowalski limped over to help out with the action. After the gator threw the first harpoon, Parker quickly stuck him with the second. “At first he didn’t want to stick his head out of the water. The rod was almost at the breaking point. A large crack had formed all the way through the flexing point of the rod,” said DuPre. Following a 90-minute battle, the hunters ended the fight with a Taurus Judge.
After taking a photo on the nearby bank, they drove the gator back to the landing, loaded the gator, and headed home. Kowalski had a crane from work parked at A-American Plumbing nearby to hoist the gator up and weigh it.
The gator measured in at 12'-11 3/4" and weighed 689 pounds.
“The gator was enormous when we hoisted it up on the crane,” said DuPre. “People were pulling their vehicles over on the side of the road to get pictures. Even a few police officers came over and got a close look,” said DuPre.
-To read about another big gator killed at Santee this year, click here.