Santee hunter kills 622-pound gator

Brian Carroll killed a 622-pound gator while hunting on Lake Moultrie with Renegade Bowfishing on Sept. 13, 2023. The swamp lizard was 12-feet, 2-inches long. It was an exciting hunt that began as night fell, and ended before midnight.

Cole Poplin and William Ard, who run Renegade Bowfishing, were prepared to stay out well into the next morning, but when they found the 12+ footer, they had the tools and knowledge to help Carroll bag the gator well before then.

From spending time on the water, Poplin and Ard knew where to look, and quickly spotted a number of different alligators.

“They knew I really wanted a 12-footer, and we saw a couple that looked that big to me, but they’re on the water doing this a lot more than most people. So when they told me to wait for a bigger one, I knew that was best,” said Carroll.

The fight begins

And when they saw the 12-foot, 2-inch beast, they let Carroll know that this was the specimen he wanted.

Before they could get an arrow in the gator, it quickly swam off. With bright spotlights mounted on their airboat, they quickly found the gator again, and Carroll put an arrow in it with the crew’s air-powered arrow gun.

That arrow was attached to a line with a buoy, making it easy to track the gator after that first shot. The gator ran along the bottom of the lake into shallow water, the arrow protruding above the surface. With the boat approaching it again, the gator lashed out, and Carroll put another arrow in it before it made another run.

“Once it started, it was all kind of a blur to me, but every time I did something, Cole and William were handing me whatever I needed next, and getting the boat into position for our next move,” said Carroll. “I felt like a chicken with my head cut off, but they were running like a well-oiled machine.

Cordray’s is handling processing, taxidermy

“This is why anyone wanting to bag a trophy gator should book a trip with professionals like these guys. They’ve got all the right tools, and even though they are clearly excited about every gator they encounter, they keep their cool and they know what they need to do in order to put their hunter in a position for success,” he said.

With the gator still very active, Poplin and Ard needed another line in the gator to help them get it boatside where Carroll could administer the kill shot. Ard sunk a GatorTaker treble hook into the beast with a stout fishing rod for good measure.

Then they handed Carroll a harpoon and got the boat into position again. Carroll stuck the harpoon into the gator, giving the hunters another line for leverage. This allowed them to get the gator beside the boat, and Carroll hit it with a bangstick, stunning the gator momentarily.

The gator began fighting again, so Poplin and Ard pulled on the lines once more, getting the beast into position for Carroll to get another shot, this time from his handgun. With that, the hunt was over and the work of loading the gator onto the boat began.

Carroll took the gator to Cordray’s Processing and Taxidermy. They are processing the meat for him, and performing taxidermy work, allowing him to commemorate the hunt.

Once he gets the meat back from Cordray’s, he’ll put some of it to use in this Santee Style Grilled Alligator Tail.

If you’d like to book a trip with Renegade Bowfishing, either for the alligator season or for a bowfishing trip, give them a call at 803-968-4130.

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