Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Alligator hunting season began this past Saturday, and some in the Midlands have already reaped the benefits. One man may have got the biggest gator so far this season.
Unpacking after a weekend hunting trip, Bert Sorin knows all about the dangers of hunting gators. "They're big enough to flip over your boat, they're big enough to eat you," said Sorin.
On a boat this past weekend on Lake Marion in Orangeburg County, armed with cross bows and spotlights, danger was everywhere in the water below. "And as we got up closer and closer being dead quiet, we realized about five yards from him he was the one."
Sorin was one of the lucky few to win a tag to hunt a gator this season in the state. The 34-year-old got one of the biggest gators this hunting season. "He was 11 foot 11 this year and 550 pounds, his head was right at 21 inches long," said Sorin.
Sorin says hunting gators helps keep their populations down around residential areas. "They have a size limit, it has to be over four feet. Generally thought of after four or five feet the alligators could be a little more dangerous to the population whether it's kids or dogs or stuff like that. We shined the light the other night, we went five docks with alligators underneath them."
As for what the gator meat tastes like? "Taste like gator, some people say chicken, I think it tastes somewhere between chicken and catfish." So while Sorin packs up, he says he'll enjoy this gator. Until the next gator season rolls around.
"I'm gonna put in and see what happens and hopefully get to hunt as long as possible," said Sorin. Alligator hunting season ends on October 9th. South Carolina issued 1,000 permits in a blind drawing. DNR says there are over 100,000 alligators in this state.