Alligator hunting can be as high-tech or as low-tech as a hunter chooses. For those who prefer low-tech methods, casting for alligators using heavy duty fishing tackle brings big-game hunting and big-game fishing together in one outing.
Casting for his 10-foot-6 inch was the chosen method of Moon Mulling of Pauline, a veteran fisherman and venison processor who operates Mam’s Jerky (864-216-2459) in Pauline. After being drawn for the southern coastal zone in 2009, Mulling and his 13-year-old son, Luke, and their buddy. Scott James, headed down to the Combahee River.
“We’ve seen a good many gators night-fishing at Santee, but I got drawn for the area around Beaufort, so we figured we’d just head down there and give it a shot,” said Mulling who had attended the SCDNR’s alligator-hunting seminar at the Harry Hampton Expo in Spartanburg last August. “We hunted the last weekend of the season and saw a lot of gators. We tried shining them and chasing them down with the trolling motor; my son even hooked up one 7-footer that night for a little while, but they were really spooky. We finally decided to just anchor up out in the middle of the river and let them come to us.”
Using the end of one of their Sturdy Stik catfish rods, they called up several alligators by periodically splashing the water with the rod after turning the lights out. According to Mulling, the party could actually see gators leave the bank and swim across the top of the water to investigate the noise.
“We made our own snagging hooks by taking a 12/0 treble hook and molding lead around the shank,” said Mulling. “We cast these across the back of the closest gator and managed to hook him up and then we got another line on him, so we had two rods to try to wear him down. We fought that gator for nearly two hours and got him close enough to hit him with a crossbow and get a heavier line on him.”
After finally harvesting the animal, Mulling and party loaded him in the bed of their pickup truck and skinned him out in the back of the truck using a streetlight and a borrowed water hose.
“I didn’t try to make jerky out of it, the meat was just too stringy,” Mulling said. “I did make some really good boudin sausage, a few steaks and a lot of fried alligator bites.”
Editor’s Note: This story appears as part of a feature in South Carolina Sportsman’s September issue now on newsstands. To ensure you don’t miss any information-packed issues of the magazine, click here to have each issue delivered right to your mail box.