Henderson Wright, of Dalton, had the hunt of his life last September while hunting in Clinch County.
Henderson had been trying for five years to draw a alligator tag in Zone 6. Once he got a tag, it was time to set up his rig to catch one of these gators. He opted for a heavy duty saltwater fishing rod and reel with a big treble hook tied to 80-lb. line. Henderson was planning on dispatching the gator with a .38 pistol when they got it close enough.
“I had never alligator hunted before, so this was a new thing to me,” said Henderson. “I ended up going to Bear Run outfitters in Clinch County. Jamie Steedley is the man behind Bear Run Outfitters. I have been going to Jamie’s Outfitter for years. Everything is free range, and nothing is guaranteed. Most of this property borders Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and the camp is about 4 miles from the Florida/Georgia line.”
Most people get in boats and chase the alligators at night, but it wasn’t this sort of hunting that Henderson was looking for. Jamie was going to get him an alligator on foot, during the daylight.
“I felt like I was going to get bit by something any minute,” said Henderson. “This whole place is full of canals and swamps. September 14, first day of the hunt, I decided to see if I could kill a hog on the first morning. They set me up in a stand, and I wasn’t sitting there 45 minutes. A sow stepped out not long after daylight, and I dropped her in its tracks. After getting this 147-lb. hog skinned out, it was time to get after a few gators.”
It was around 9:30, and Jamie and Henderson started seeing alligators very quickly but could never make anything come together.
“These are some of the most skittish creatures I have dealt with,” said Henderson. “The second morning, we didn’t have much luck, until we saw two alligators laying in a sandy road. They both eased off into a canal. We all backed out for a couple of hours and then returned. We came back, and one of the gators was still in sight. I snuck up close enough to under hand cast the treble hook, and I got it. It started thrashing and fighting, but soon we got close enough to put a bullet in it. First thing Jamie did was tapped its mouth shut. Good way to get your heart pumping.”
By that time, it was dark. Henderson and Jamie got the gator loaded up and hauled back to camp for skinning. Henderson’s alligator measured a impressive 8-feet, 7-inches.
“I was already happy enough killing a hog and a alligator,” said Henderson. “But I had one more day left. The last morning, I went out to kill another hog. I was sitting there two hours and a boar hog started working my way. It got 75 yards, and I drilled him. He weighed 137 pounds field-dressed.”
Henderson came home with a cooler slap full of alligator and hog meat. He stopped by the Armuchee DNR regional office on the way home to get his permanent tag for his gator.
“This was truly an adventure,” said Henderson. “Nothing like eating fried gator tail. Thanks to Jamie and Jamie’s helping hand, Chris Schuler, for making this all work out and come together. It was a super hunt with super people. It was the craziest, wildest, most fun hunt I have ever been on. I actually went back to Bear Run that November and killed a big sow hog.”