Annika Kirsch’s Edisto River gator hunt

Edisto River

Edisto River gator was about 8 feet long

My family was blessed to win a gator lottery tag this year. We went on our fourth hunt with guide Brad Taylor of Taylor Outdoors.

My daddy Thomas Kirsch has always been there for our gator hunts, and this time my daughter Annika Kirsch decided she wanted to go hunting with us as well. We were hunting on the Edisto River.

Annika used a crossbow, shooting an arrow with a rope attached. It was the first cold snap in October, and we were bundled up for the cold weather to come. We already knew that locating a good-sized gator was going to be difficult.

As we slowly cruised through the back creeks, we saw a few gators, but they were all too small. Luckily it was early in the evening, and we thought we had a lot of time. But we soon learned a fog bank was slowly rolling in. So at that point, we understood we wouldn’t have many chances of getting a nice gator – or any gator at all – to tag.

Gator plays cat-and-mouse

Edisto RiverOnce we left the creek, we got an opportunity when a gator about 8 feet long appeared. We drove the boat closer, only to scare it, and it slowly sank below the surface. We began shining and saw it reappear about 30 feet away. So we slowly turned the boat around and advanced toward it. Unfortunately, it sank to the bottom again.

I was a bit worried, and not sure if Annika would get her opportunity. Then, about 5 minutes later, the gator resurfaced and wasn’t too far away from the boat this time. Annika slowly raised the crossbow up, released the safety and squeezed the trigger. Her shot was perfect. It was a great shot that any father would be proud of.

When the gator realized it was hit, he busted through the surface of the water and pulled the boat for a bit. Then he hunkered to the bottom of the river. Annika was holding on for the fight of her life as the gator kept fighting and pulling. After nearly 30 minutes, the gator submitted to the second line of control.

Once the gator was dispatched and properly and safely inside the boat, the high-fives and excitement commenced. Annika will retell the story of gator hunting on the Edisto River with her Daddy and her grandpa for the rest of her life. I can honestly say for the next 24 hours, my daughter had a smile from ear to ear!

–David Kirsch

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