Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Congrats, I missed the SC draw for the second year. I havenít missed a draw since they started. I did check GA and surprisingly my points carried. I apply for the very difficult to draw Zone 1 and 1a so didnít expect to draw anyway. If I would have been less distracted I would have 7+ points in GA vs. the 2 or 3 now.

    In SC Midland I passed on a 12í right at the boat 15 minutes in. My trip was a lot like yours. I had a severe cold, truck had a flat on the way and safety key missing. Rented a car in Fayetteville at 11:55 pm when they close at 12. Taxi took us for a 45 minute ďrideĒ. Couldnít get a hotel to even sleep the 1 hour before Guide showed. After passing a possible 12í ( I have a full head/neck mount from a prior 11í in SC) to find a definite 12-13í I never saw another one over 9í. I did bring a Buddy and wanted him to experience so second day went for anything 8í or over. Had one slip by and another submerge in the shallows. My friend was worried about my truck(no need USAA lost it for a week) and didnít want to wait on the last 9í in crystal clear shallow water to emerge so we left.

    To add to your advice:


    Make sure your Partners committed

    Sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, and good binocs if daytime hunting

    If night time skip the bug juice and go for a swamp net hat deal. Trust me, I worked in Rural SC/GA for 2 years. The bugs donít care about spray and will fly into every opening they find

    Learn to judge gators using eye to snout and eye width including reflections

    If you think of it more as a Fishing/Hunting group activity itís more accurate than Hunting really

    Even in rural areas book a hotel or lodging well in advance

    I used a harpoon and knife vs. Fishing pole and/or Gun. Even if hooked with a pole or snatch line youíll still want a noose or large line in him. Ask the Guide what his harpoon handle is and pick one up. They sometimes like a long heavy handle to reach that can be awkward to thrust/throw, etc.

    Watch the tail and watch the tail-enough said

    Open cuts near bacteria ridden gator hide is bad for business. They bleach and scrub before cleaning for a good reason.

    Public lakes on weekends are a bad idea. I learned the hardway after my first hunt was a small canal without traffic at night. The second was Lake Marion which had a rep for large lizards. I wanted Santee Cooper (Middle Coastal) and picked Midlands as a second. I should have picked Southern Coastal. GA is a bit different in zones. SC only has 4 and the lakes were producing. The water being high had them so far back in the cypress trees we could hear them crashing and couldnít get close. We were in a few inches of water in very tight spots and still couldnít get close. There is a report issued on sizes taken from each region and I believe GA does the same.

    If your in GA and like small game there are huge saddled colored Fox Squirrels the size of Groundhogs and a smaller variety thatís solid black with a White nose. Some area call them Cat Squirrels.


    Most important, a Low Country Boil is definitely the go to food when ordering. If your coastal you can watch the shrimp boats come in to the restaurants.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Northern Tier, Pennsylvania
    (McKean County)
    Age
    50
    Posts
    7,030
    Rep Power
    21474855

    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Interesting.

    Something I never considered doing.

    Did you eat any of it yet?
    How is it........and don't say it tastes like chicken.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
    (Lehigh County)
    Posts
    1,862
    Rep Power
    21474843

    Smile Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Quote Originally Posted by God's Country View Post
    Interesting.

    Something I never considered doing.

    Did you eat any of it yet?
    How is it........and don't say it tastes like chicken.
    When you do cook it avoid too much spice. I have eaten gator at the Louisiana Gator Festival and it was so spicy, you could not distinguish the meat flavor. I think it is a Cajun thing. That or they wanted to sell more beer!
    Illegitimus non carborundum est

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    SEPA, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,737
    Rep Power
    5182825

    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    I've had gator meat at Knoebels before as most folks will deep fry it. I'm still recovering from trip, so I haven't eaten any of it.

    I will be sending hide to American Tanning Company to have it tanned/dyed. It will take 9/12 months to get it back.

    I have enough points to go next year, but I'll wait til friend and my daughter have enough points to hunt with me.
    Last edited by aubie515; September 4th, 2018 at 09:36 PM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
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    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Finally have good enough network to load pics. Fat head for his Size guessing a Bull. Thatís the ideal size for leather as large old gators have a lot of scars and donít make good leather. Itís about the largest for eating as well. Most locals preferred 6-8í from what I can tell. You donít get as much meat as it looks. Mostly bones and about 35% of the weight is hide. Mine was 400 ish IIRC and only about 70#s meat. I did lose the cheeks though because of the mount. A full head and neck is pricey so didnít want to mess it up. The legs are a little bit of meat and the 4 lions on the tail(no idea WH they are called loins other than appearance) and the cheeks. The rest is bone and hide. I had the horn back and belly hide taxidermy tanned which in retrospect was a mistake but at the time it was 3500 for a clothing grade tan. Itís a lot more affordable now it seems. Or I looked at and listened to the wrong folks.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
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    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Iíve seen cool things made from their legs too but I didnít save mine at the time. I like the mount though it sits on the floor even though I have a lot of space. Thought if I killed a really big one Iíd have a diorama built of them fighting. In retrospect a Euro would have been a lot cheaper though I like teaching the kids and their friends with the mount. They mount the skull as a pseudo form and only hollow out the brain /sinus cavity. This is after a 6 mos. pickle in acid. I get why itís so expensive.

    I really wanted to put Halloween candy in its mouth for Visitors though my Wife was still in sticker shock in Raleigh and now we are too far above the Falls for anyone to hike up and trick or treat.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
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    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    Thereís also nothing like not knowing what your hooked to and peering into muddy water with inches of visibility. When suddenly a Gator as long as your boat floats up to decide what you are. I still remember the hairs on my neck on end. Once he knew the game itís a whole different thing entirely. They dig into the mud and you canít stop them.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    SEPA, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,737
    Rep Power
    5182825

    Default Re: GA gator hunt AAR

    You give some great insight. I may do a weekday hunt as there won't be as many people out hunting. We saw two boats the night of our hunt. We think the one was the DNR, but one boat was hunting for sure.

    Most people don't realize that smaller game will taste way better than larger game. People always think bigger is better. I know my next gator will be a mature adult as I want a big head mount.

    I'm going to make a necklace with the claw for my daughter.

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