Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – A southern Lexington County woman was all smiles Tuesday after she landed a massive alligator while hunting near the coast of South Carolina. Jessica Chaney, who lives between South Congaree and Gaston, said she was shocked and extremely excited when she first saw the sheer size of the prehistoric monster.
Chaney said that she first shot the alligator with a crossbow that had a float attached to it. Once she and her crew pulled it to the boat, they harpooned it with another line and float. They drug it back beside the boat where Chaney said she delivered the coup de grais with her 9 mm. When the fight was over and the monster was in the boat, its overall length measured 10-feet 3-inches long and the beast weighed in at 398 pounds!
Chaney has always loved the outdoors and spends lots of time hunting and fishing with her husband Corey, family, and friends. She wears as much camouflage as she does any other styles and is comfortable with either a rod and reel or a gun in her hands. Chaney was hunting in a portion of Georgetown County called the Pole Yard. The public landing and natural area are on the North Santee River and is located very close to the historic Hopsewee Plantation. It’s at this point that the river and the Atlantic Ocean meet; Prime habitat for some monster North American Alligators.
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, although alligators can be located in most parts of South Carolina including Lexington County, the monster gators, the 12 and 13-footers that can weigh a half-ton, tend to slink through the mid-state down toward the wide coastal zone. Their home turf runs approximately from Lake Marion, near the Congaree National Park, to the historic abandoned rice fields along the coast, between the Santee River in Georgetown and the ACE Basin near Beaufort.
Several years ago, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reported that a couple, Jonathan Smith and his finance Melissa Davis, pulled in a gator after fighting it for hours on Lake Marion. It was 12-feet 10-inches long and weighed 806 pounds. A Massachusetts woman reported trapping a 1,025-pound alligator six years ago while a 755-pound gator was caught last year, both on Lake Marion.
The alligators of South Carolina are usually docile toward humans unless they are cornered, harassed, or surprised. In June of 2019, the Island Packet reported that police found a South Carolina man dead in a pond on Kiawah Island with what appeared to be bites from an alligator. The 79-year-old man had been doing yard work by the lake behind his house when he went missing Saturday, according to the incident report.
In 2006, a man and his girlfriend were enjoying a day on the water near Charleston when their dog was attacked by an alligator while he was swimming. The gator grabbed the pet and started dragging him away from the bank when his owner instinctively jumped in the water and grabbed the gator. The startled alligator released the dog, who then quickly swam to shore with help from his human. Both the man and the dog lived with only minor injuries to show from their encounter.