North Carolina hunters kill giant Santee gator

gator hunt
Brandon Dockery (left) and Chris Skibo killed this beast at Santee on Oct. 5, 2019.

Big gator was 1/2-inch shy of 12 feet

Chris Skibo and Brandon Dockery, both of Kings Mountain, N.C., killed their biggest alligator at Santee this past Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The two hunters were hunting out of Blacks Camp on the Diversion Canal when they snagged and shot the big gator. It was 1/2-inch shy of 12 feet long.

This was Dockery’s second time drawing a tag, but the first gator he’s placed a tag on.

“I ate a tag sandwich that first year,” said Dockery. “I had plenty of chances to kill a gator, but I didn’t want to settle for a little one. This time, we booked for 7 days at Blacks Camp and killed the gator on our fifth day.”

That same year, Skibo also drew his first tag, and he killed a 10 1/2-foot gator. So this time, the two wanted something even bigger. They put in plenty of time, and passed on numerous smaller gators throughout the week. On Friday, Oct. 4, the action got pretty heavy as they hooked up to a couple of different alligators. Unfortunately, those reptiles shook themselves free.

On Saturday, they went back to the same spot they’d hooked those gators the day before. They battled 13-mph winds, left to search another area, and eventually went back to the first spot of the day. That’s when the 11-foot, 11 1/2-inch gator showed itself.

“When we got back there, we spent a lot of time looking through binoculars,” said Dockery.

Skibo said the non-resident gator hunting fee is worth it

“We saw 10 or 15 gators, looking for a good one. We saw (the big gator) and sat on him for about an hour waiting for him to come back up. The wind was blowing us around, then blowing us back toward the gator. He came up to see where we were at,” said Skibo.

The gator submerged itself again, and they moved their boat into position and started blind casting to the gator.

“We casted around and ended up snagging him. He pulled us around for about 10 or 15 minutes and we got another hook in him. We got him to come up and got a bow shot in him to get a heavier line and worked him in from there,” said Skibo.

The bow line, which was a heavier duty line, was the ticket. It wasn’t long after that they got the gator close enough to finish it off.

gator hunt
Here’s a look at the business end of Dockery and Skibo’s big Santee gator.

“Once we got that bow line in him, it was about a done deal. It’s got a bigger line on it so we were able to actually man-handle him then,” said Dockery.

They pulled the gator boat-side and administered the kill shot with a 9mm handgun. Then they spent about 45 minutes getting the gator into the boat before heading back to Blacks Camp, where they skinned and dressed the beast.

The extra $200 non-resident fee for gator hunting in South Carolina discourages a lot of out-of-state residents from applying, but Skibo said the fee is well worth it.

“We just don’t have this opportunity in North Carolina. It’s a lot of fun and is an experience unlike anything else. It’s a blast and there’s just nothing like it,” said Skibo.

Click here to read about Lee Daugherty’s big Santee gator from earlier this year.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1400 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.

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