On September 29th, 18-year-old Walker Drummond of Effingham took his first South Carolina alligator. And what a gator it was, weighing over 500 pounds and 11 foot 6 inches long. But gale force winds and being without a critical piece of equipment almost brought this Effingham hunter back home empty handed.
Walker Drummond is the son of Steve Drummond, the legendary outdoorsman on Low Country Wildlife Television and owner of 301 Game Processing in Effingham, South Carolina. Drummond was super excited when Walker, whose been involved in many hunts with his dad but never dispatched his own, received his first alligator tag.
But Walker was a little worried that the alligator his dad would help him get might not be up to his dad’s normal standard.
“Daddy, you get everybody these big gators. You aren’t going to make me settle for a six footer are you?” Walker said.
“Of course not. We will do the best we can do,” his father said.
On September 29th, the Drummonds compiled a four-person party to go to the North Santee River to find Walker his first trophy reptile. But, as soon as the team got to the boat ramp at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the hunters were greeted with torrential winds.
“I told Walker we may have a hard time seeing the gators with all of this wind. There were plenty in the area right now,” Drummond said.
Drummond had recently helped seven clients tag big alligators in the Santee Region. And on a recent trip, he’d left at least 20 nice-sized gators swimming in the river. So, he knew plenty of trophies were available. The North Santee River area is full of swampland and remnant rice fields where alligators can appear and disappear.
So, the team trudged on.
“We went to our best spots and only saw two on one stretch and one on another. The gators had to be doing something different with all this wind. We weren’t seeing many at all,” Drummond said.
So, the team regrouped and slowly idled two miles into a small feeder creek about as far as their boat would go. As they approached the last stretch, the crew was quickly greeted with a huge alligator that came off the bank and disappeared into the muddy creek waters. The crew anxiously waited for the huge animal to reappear, but he had vanished.
With few other opportunities available in the area, their best option was to wait. They knew there was a big one here. So, they waited and hoped. Just over an hour later, the alligator surfaced within casting distance.
“We hooked him and lost him several times over the next hour and a half. But we finally got him under control and got the noose secured tightly around his jaws. And it was then when I realized l left the pistol in the truck,” Drummond said.
The last hour and a half was a true battle to get this beast under control and according to Drummond, every person in the boat that day was important to get this animal where they needed him. They sure weren’t going to let him go, so it was time for Plan B.
Luckily, Drummond’s extensive experience hunting and skinning alligators educated him right where the kill spot is to end this strenuous battle.
So, he gave Walker the harpoon and instructed him right where to make the final blow.
“He jabbed him hard right in the sweet spot and the gator immediately went limp. It was just as quick as a bullet and it did the job,” says Drummond.
Walker was tickled with all 11-foot, 6 inches of his first gator, especially bagging it the old-fashioned way.
Even though the alligator season has been underway for nearly a decade now in South Carolina, there are only a few wild game facilities that can process alligators and 301 Game Processing and Taxidermy is the premier facility to handle alligators from start to finish.
While Drummond doesn’t consider himself an alligator guide, he frequently aids his customers in filling their tags as a courtesy. This past year, he successfully helped over a dozen alligator hunters fill their tags with trophy-sized gators.