On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 13, Jerrod McDaniel, of Hazlehurst, killed a 13-foot Ocmulgee River alligator in Zone 5 near the town of Jacksonville. Jerrod is one of 100 who received a permit to hunt this zone.
Jerrod was hunting with his dad Dennis, who was the actual gator tag holder, and his buddy Brian Bruce. The trio of hunters are regulars on this stretch of the river in Telfair County.
“We took a 6-mile trip up the river in search of this alligator. While waiting, we had seen a couple of 6- to 7-foot gators, and we saw a 9- to 10-foot gator,” said, Jerrod.
Around 8:30 to 8:40, they had found the exact gator they were looking for. This was not the first time Jerrod and Brian had encountered this alligator.
“We’ve actually been after this particular gator about seven to eight times before we actually proceeded to catch him,” said Jerrod.
Once spotted, Jerrod took an 8-foot baitcasting rod equipped with 80-lb. monofilament with a big treble-hook and threw it at the gator. His first cast didn’t connect, but his second cast dug into the gator.
“It took us nearly 10 minutes to pull him in,” said Jerrod.
After the struggle, Jerrold finally got the gator close enough for a shot with a pistol.
“It took us approximately an hour and a half to get him loaded up and another hour to get back down the river, with river conditions being so low,” said Jerrod.
Jerrod was thrilled with the enormous size of his gator. On certified scales at Cotton Partners in Hazlehurst, the beast weighed 604 pounds. Jerrod said he later talked with a biologist who said the alligator could be anywhere from 25 to even 75 years old.
Georgia’s limited alligator season, open only to hunters selected through a quota process, will end at sunrise on Oct. 8.