12+ foot gator weighed 700 pounds
Hunting on South Carolina’s opening day of the 2023 alligator season, Kim Lawhon killed a Santee swamp lizard that measured 12 feet, 2 inches long. The gator weighed 700 pounds.
They launched from Blount’s Landing in Eutawville at 8 p.m. Lawhon and her hunting party were hoping for a gator in at least the 7- to 8-foot range.
“Another hunter and I have tagged gators before. But not on the level that was in store for us this night,” she said.
They made a short drive to Lake Marion’s Sixteen Island and spoke with a few other hunters who had not had any luck. After looking for about an hour, they spotted a gator that looked worthy of pursuing.
“We spotted a glare across the water in the lily pads, and quickly aimed the 17-foot Gator-Tail boat toward it,” she said. “Right as we got near to the gator, he quickly went under. But we threw out a line and drug it across the bottom, hooking it!”
They knew the gator was at least in the range they wanted, but they really didn’t know exactly how big this beast was.
“None of use really knew what size we had hooked, even after fighting it for the first 10 minutes,” she said.
After getting a second line in the gator, the fight was truly on.
“It would suddenly come up to the surface, just barely giving us a glimpse, and then back down he’d go to roll. We threw out another treble on a rope and hooked him again, pulling him up,” she said. “That’s when we all saw that he was what we call ‘a grown man,’” she said.
They battled the gator for the next 3 hours, then finally got him to the side of the boat.
“That’s when we realized just how big this monster really was,” she said.
They dispatched the gator, then tried getting him into the boat. But the creature was too big and too heavy.
“After many attempts to get him in the boat to haul back to the landing, it just wasn’t possible with the four of us. We tagged and secured him next to the boat. Then taxied all the way back to the landing where we were met with a crowd of 10 to 15 people ready to help us get him in the boat and secured,” she said.
They took the gator to Palmetto Processing, where they did a full measurement and weighed it.
Lawhon said it’s a hunt she’ll never forget.
“Many thanks to the kind folks at the landing for assisting us when we really needed it, and to the processor. This was a hunt we will always remember,” she said.