North Carolina Bowfishing
Gator Hunting Gear

 South Carolina Gator Hunting

Bowfishing doesn't get more dangerous than this. But with the right knowledge and safety awareness your South Carolina Gator Hunt will be a great success. If you have never done this before we highly recommend you try with a guide first. You can find a SC Gator Guide here. The 2012 South Carolina Alligator Guide is a great resource to help you harvest your gator safely.

Gator Hunting Gear

Gator Hunt Bow While many methods are permitted to harvest your South Carolina Gator we prefer using the bow. Your looking for something with high draw weight than a bowfishing bow here. 60-70lbs draw weight it recommended. If you use sights you will have to re-adjust them for the heavier arrow. Illuminated sights work great since most gator hunting is done at night. The bow should be fitted with a slotted retriever(AMS) and a float attached to the arrow using 600lbs Muzzy gator cord.

Gator Hunt Crossbow If a hunter cannot draw a bow back a crossbow is a great alternative and more effective on gators. You can buy a crossbow with a gator hunting kit, buy the kit separate, or make your own to mount a reel to the crossbow. An illuminated scope is a must if hunting at night. This year my wife will be using a Mission MXB 320 with the XB Pro Package that comes with a multi-reticle 2 color illuminated scope thanks to the great deal from Southern Draw Archery in Rock Hill.

Gator Hunt muzzy gator getter You will need something tougher than a normal archery arrow for a gator. We use the Muzzy Gator Getter arrows and bolts. The arrow shaft is fiberglass with an aluminum sleeve. The point is designed to separate from the arrow so the gator cannot pull the arrow out(yes they can do that). Also the line is attached to the point and not the arrow shaft so if the gator breaks the arrow he doesn't get away.

AMS Slotted Reel
Gator AMS slotted reel For a reel you will need the AMS slotted reel. The slotted reel allows you to reel in your line if you miss a shot but the slot allows the line to pull free from the reel. So when you connect with the gator the line can pull free being attached to a float instead of your bow. Now you can chase the float and start pulling in your gator.

Gator Snatch Hook Snagging a gator is a method we reserve if we have tried everything but cannot get a gator in range to shoot with a bow or crossbow. Snagging is accomplished by casting a weighted trouble hook over the gators back, reeling in the slack then set the hook. This allows us to bring the gator in range for a shot. The equipment we use is a 12/0 Mustad hook attached to 150lbs braided line on a heavy fishing rod with a strong reel. We buy our snatch hooks here.

Gator Snatch Hook

A harpoon is an important piece of equipment to safely secure the gator before dispatching. The harpoon is also very useful if the gator can bee seen laying on the bottom or if you can get close enough before the gator goes down. The harpoon can also be thrown at the gator.

We buy our Gator Harpoons here.

Gator Snare

A snare can come in handy to secure the gator at the side of the boat. You can also use the snare around the gators mouth holding it shut while you dispatch the gator. This is nice if you want to use a knife instead of a handgun or bang-stick.

We buy our Gator Snares here.

Cordray's Taxidermy

Gator Hunting Techniques

South Carolina Gator Hunt

You can hunt Gators in South Carolina during the day or at night. Gators are more active at night but 10' plus gators have been taking during the day light hours as well. The style of hunting is similar but there are a few differences.

For Gator Hunts in South Carolina you have your choice of weaponry. You are allowed to use a bow or cross bow. You can also use a harpoon, snare or weighted trouble hook attached to a strong fishing rod, think ocean fishing. Let me tell you, even a 5ft gator will put up a hell of a fight on a rod and real.

During the day it is best to glass for a gator then make you approach towards him. While being as quite as possible keep trying to close the gap until a shot can be made. If the gator goes down watch for a trail of bubbles telling you the direction he went. This is a good time to try to snag him on the bottom if you can cast a hook over the trail of bubbles. If the gator didn't move try looking for him to be sitting on the bottom. You can also try to snag him.

The most common way to find a gator at night is to scan the banks with a spotlight and look for the red glowing eyes. That's a dead giveaway of a gator. While keeping the light on the gator slowly sneak up on him using the trolling motor. Everyone needs to be quite on the boat. Even the slightest noise can scare a big gator making him go down. Continue to creep upon the gator till he is in range to take a shot.

It is a good idea to get more than one line in the gator. Multiple lines will help you pull him up and you will always have a line in him if one pulls out. Now that you have more than one line in the gator start to work him up next to the boat. Be patient and wear him out like a fish. Just don't let him rest. This could take a couple hours. Once you get him up next to the boat you can now dispatch the gator. We use a handgun, but bang-sticks work to. Or you can use a knife to severe the spinal cord.

Now the hard part, getting the gator in the boat. First make sure to tape the gators mouth shut. Use lots of tape here. I like to fold his legs over his back and tape them too. If you shot a trophy gator start with getting his head in the boat. Now grab a leg and try rolling him. Just make sure the gator is dead.


SC Alligator Hunting Season and Regulations

  Apply For The Draw
The first thing you need to do is apply for the draw. You can apply in May by going here: South Carolina Gator Tag Draw You and everyone participating in your hunt need to have a South Carolina Hunting License. The cost for the draw is $10 and if you are selected it is $100 for the permit. If you are out of state there is an additional fee. Every year you apply and do not get drawn you gain a preference point for next years draw. The points will accumulate as long as you don't skip a year. So apply every year!

Once you are selected you need to book your trip. Spots fill up fast! Here are the guides we highly recomend: South Carolina Alligator Hunting Guides

WMA Alligator Hunts
You can also apply to hunt on Wildlife Mangment Areas. The cost to apply is $15 dollars and if drawn the permit is $500 for residents and $800 for nonresidents. If drawn you will be selected for one of four hunting periods. Hunting periods are from Monday at Noon to Saturday at Noon. You are allowed to have up to three assistance not counting a guide if you choose one. Guides are reguired to have a commercial use permit.

There are 16 total available permits per season. Two available permits for each hunt period on both Bear Island WMA and Santee Coastal WMA, for a total of 4 hunters per week.

       South Carolina Gator Hunt
Start Your South Carolina Gator Hunt!

SC Alligator Hunting Rules
Alligators must be secured and brought to shore or alongside the boat before dispatch. No shooting of free swimming or basking gators is allowed. No rifles are allowed. Handguns and bangsticks are allowed for dispatch. No bait, baited hooks, set hooks, or pole hunting is allowed.

You may hunt gators in public waters. Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and USFWS Refuges are off limits. You may gator hunt on private land where permission is granted. Public alligator season permits cannot be used on lands enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program.

Alligator meat cannot be sold. Hides and parts may be sold and kept according to regulation.

For more on South Carolina Gator Hunt Regulations see here: South Carolina Alligator Hunting Regulations

Find a Guide for your South Carolina Gator Hunt!

Gator Processing

We highly recomend Cordray's for gator processing.

Cordray's First Quality Custom Wildgame Processing
Deer, Alligators and Wildhogs!
6708 County Line Road
Ravenel, South Carolina 29470

South Carolina Gator Hunts      

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