Pee Dee hunters kill 10.6-foot gator


Big gator showed up right on time

Pee Dee gator hunters John Wayne Caulder, Kelly Wayne Caulder and Alan Caulder killed a 10.6-foot beast on Sept. 11, 2022.

Their hunt was evidence that sometimes luck plays as big a role as preparation. They spent 12 hours on the Waccamaw River chasing gators they’d previously scouted, but none of those gators gave them a shot.

“The first day of the season started on the Waccamaw River with my son Kelly Wayne and cousin Alan. That didn’t work out as planned,” said Caulder.

On their next hunt, they tried closer to home on the Great Pee Dee River.

“We are from the Gresham community of Marion County (SC), so the Great Pee Dee is basically our backyard,” he said.

They spotted a number of gators that day, but none big enough to pursue. Caulder decided they needed to make another change, so he stepped away from the steering wheel, handing it off to his cousin.

“I passed the job as captain off to Alan as I laughed and said ‘all I want is a big boy to swim out in the middle,'” he said.

And a few minutes later, that’s exactly what took place.

“Two curves later it happened. I stepped to the front deck with my Mad Katz fishing rod and tossed once. The Lizard Man Gator Hook landed about 2 feet on the other side of his head,” he said.

Caulder set the hook and the fight was on.


Quick fight

“He went into a deep hole — about 30 feet. And he just stayed there. It was hard getting the hand line in at first because of the current and depth,” he said.

But with a little patience and muscle, the gator came to the boat relatively quickly.

“The fight only lasted 20 minutes with the 3 Caulder Boyz aboard the Gator Bait,” he said. “He was no match for the Mad Katz rod.”

The creature was also no match for the .40 when Kelly Wayne Caulder pulled the trigger, which ended the fight.

“We were on the river for 12 hours the day before, on gators we had scouted. We spent only 2 hours on the new water we hadn’t scouted. It was a heck of a good time!” he said.

In all the years South Carolina has had an alligator season, Caulder has been drawn for and filled four tags. All four have been longer than 10 feet.


Did you read about Daniel Cunningham’s big Santee gator taken this year? To see it, click here.


About Brian Cope 2745 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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