New Record 'Gator for Georgia
A new Georgia state record alligator entered the record books today. Dr. Daniel White, Alex “Bud” Harrell, Gary Braswell and alligator tag-holder Jim Overman – all of Decatur County – killed the 13-ft., 10 ¾-inch monster on the night of September 25 on Lake Seminole near Sealy’s landing. The massive gator broke the previous record of 13-ft. and 9 inches by 1 3/4 inches.
What began as a waterfowl scouting trip for Daniel and Bud ended up being a record-breaking night.
“We rounded a corner of an island and I saw what I thought was a dead gator. He was floating really high and looked over-sized like a bloated dead gator does. Then when we got about 100 feet from him he turned and looked at us and that’s when we knew he was alive. Anytime we would get within 50 feet of him he would swim right at the boat, it was very non-typical animal behavior. At one point we got within 10 feet of him and snapped a picture,” said Daniel.
When they realized that this alligator wasn’t afraid of people, they backed off and started trying to find someone with a Zone 2 alligator tag to come kill it. Their first call was to local taxidermist Gary Braswell to see if he knew of anyone.
Forty-five minutes later Gary and Jim met Daniel and Bud at the landing and followed them to the gator. The crew then shot two arrows at him at once, one struck home and one malfunctioned. What followed was a frantic search for the buoy under some of the thickest hydrilla on the lake. They ended up stumbling onto the line by following the bubbles and reaching through the grass with push poles and eventually even poked the gator again with a push pole. When the crew was trying to get a heavier harpoon rigged to have a sturdier line in him, the gator snapped the line from the first arrow and they thought all was lost.
A little more than an hour later, the big guy surfaced and couldn’t stay under long because Overman had punctured a lung on the first shot.
A broken harpoon and an another hour struggle they were able to get close enough to gaff the gator in the head and deliver the finishing shots with a pistol. It took another hour and a lot of creative thinking to get the gator in the boat and to the landing. It was officially measured and declared a state record about noon on Thursday September 26, 2013. It weighed a total of 620 pounds, but Daniel said it could’ve easily broken 700 had it eaten a meal on the day it was killed.