Updated: Jul 30
Tuesday, September 12, 2010 Woodbine, GA By Capt. Phil Walters, GatorGuides.com The South's Most Experienced Professional Gator Guide The sun had set once again sending daylight home as darkness descended upon the coast. We departed the landing at White Oak Swamp (Ga zone 6) working our way towards the Satilla River East of the I-95 bridge, passing another vessel also in search of lizards & giving them a wide berth while they worked the South bank of the creek. Our team consisting of Steve Berry, Daniel Cochran and myself worked a few glowing eyes in the creek until we spotted a distinct orange glow on the South bank, a feeling that something good was about to happen. Steve & Daniel had drawn their first Georgia gator hunting adventure tag and traveled down from their mountain town of Sautee to attempt to harvest a nice lizard. I meant them at the White Oak landing and reviewed the equipment we were to utilize for the hunt, the procedures to follow and what to expect out on that damp & dark river. Glowing with enthusiasm, the team kicked off the landing & headed out. After coaching Steve on the finer points of throwing a GatorStick harpoon and critiquing his style, we then eased downriver shining the light and working a number of juvenile gators, explaining to Steve what would likely happen when we find something slightly more intimidating than the 2’-5’ gators we happened upon. After coming under the I-95 bridge, we worked a glow on the North side, determining it to be another 4’ gator, then shifted our interest to the South bank, with a reflection that drew an immediate interest from us. Upon approach, we were not sure of this thing’s size as the light was not directly upon it. Steve, sitting in the “hotseat” on the bow of the vessel, drew ready with the harpoon. Once near glow’s source, the light was dropped to illuminate the target and WOW, what a monster! Our reaction was immediate with a harpoon let loose in the beast’s direction! Instantly, the water exploded on the starboard side and the harpoon line in the bucket started to sing as it peeled out of the boat towards the deep open water. “Steve, looks like we got a line in him. Lets be ginger and work him softly until we can put a few more lines onto him for insurance as I’m not certain the dart is buried in his back,” I said. Steve nodded in excitement and asked “How big is it?” “I’m not sure but I think he’s over 10,” I replied. Daniel came down from his perch to assist. With the gator now in almost 15’ of water, the job of placing more lines upon him for total control was a daunting task. We worked placing a “locator” hook on him to attempt to pull him to the surface. After many fruitless attempts, we finally were able to secure this line onto him & convince Mr. Prehistoric to come to the surface& visit with us for a while. With much strain, Daniel brought the creature up with Steve at the ready with another GatorStick. The gator surfaced & submerged 3 times but was out of the range Steve’s throwing arm. Finally, at nearly boat side, the gator offered Steve a shot at it’s armored back and Steve replied with a “windup” of the harpoon then the reassuring “thud” of a solid impact. With three lines firmly placed on the gator, both Steve & Daniel worked him. As they did, the gator relentlessly rolled & rolled, sending water & back scutes crashing against the gunnel of our aluminum boat. We continued to fight the gator in order to tire him to the point where we could completely dominate him, then tape his jaws & send him on a one way trip to gator heaven. Unfortunately, this gator decided to make things difficult by his constant rolling, which eventually, consumed two separate 50’ harpoon lines around his body, entangling the two harpoons along with the 3rd locator line. What a mess…….. We decided to drag him to shallow water, hoping we could then gaff & tape him. With many attempts of taping the gator boat side and many “near tapings,” the gator would roll and throw off the gaff, Steve was finally able to get a number of wraps of electrical tape upon the jaws, but not before the beast bit one of the floats in half and nearly destroyed the two harpoon poles entangled near his jaws. Finally, with the jaws securely taped, the three of us grunted & groaned and pulled the beast across the deck of the boat. It was a monumental effort as the gator did not wish to cooperate, but we persisted and eventually prevailed. Steve jumped on the lizard’s back while Daniel stood on it’s tail. Steve drew his knife and skillfully dispatched the gator by severing it’s spinal column and pithing it’s small brain. With us, the river’s top predators in total control of this dinosaur, the final task of placing a Georgia gator tag into it’s tail was completed & we all sighed a sign of relief and enjoyed a well earned break. “Wow! What an adrenalin rush!” Steve said. “That was the most exciting thing I have ever done,” Daniel added. With the gator secured on the boat, we nosed up river and started the slow ride back to the landing. With fog starting to roll in, most of the ride was without any additional light other than that of the crescent moon overhead illuminating the water. At the landing, we spent the better part of an hour untangling the lines which our dinosaur did his best to destroy. Once free of lines, we again heaved & groaned to place the gator upon the deck so we could measure him & snap a few pictures. We estimated his weight at near 500 lbs and he took the tape measure to a solid 12’ 4”. “What a night......... **************************************************************************** Byline: Scaly, Cold Blooded Killer “Osama” Dispatched by Knife in White Oak Swamp Woodbine, Ga. September 12, 2010 “Osama,” the slimy, 12’4” cold blooded killer of White Oak Swamp meant his destiny at the hands of 3 Georgia sportsmen on Monday, September 12, 2010. He was sent on a one way trip to the “gator promised land” via an American made “Smokey Mountain Toothpick” boot knife that had previously sent may other gators & hogs to the same place. “Since we were hunting on the day after 9-11, our team of hunters decided to name the “”lucky beast” we harvested after the noted terrorist who attacked us 9 years prior,” said Captain Phil Walters of GatorGuides.com. “My hunting partners Steve Berry & Daniel Cochran of North Georgia concurred this was a fitting name to apply to our night’s prey.” After searching a while, we located “Osama” lounging beneath a thin veil of muddy river water, with the impression he was hidden from our sharp eyes. We quickly harpooned “Osama” multiple times with our native made “gatorsticks,” dragged him back into shallow water, then thoroughly “man handled” him into submission for the eventual dispatch via the “Toothpick.” Once dispatched & tagged, the plan was to skin & flesh him at the landing & return the entrails back to the swamp for the crabs & buzards to eat. Captain Walters, a native of Georgia who resides in Tampa, Fl. Is a professional alligator hunting guide & outfitter who is descended from a long line of veterans & patriots, has a long standing offer to any current Taliban, Al-Quada or Jihadist. We offer one way gator hunting trips to any of the qualified misfits. “The areas with high gator populations often leads to fierce competition for food, so the gators can always use a little extra protein in their diets. I’m offering free trips to martyrdom for those terrorists who will to step forward,” Walters said. “While gators are a carrion eating, cold blooded, slimy creature, I don’t think the gators will offer any “Professional Courtesies” to this other brand of slimy, cold blooded serpents,” he added.
About the Author: Captain Phil Walters is owner of GatorGuides.com and produces RatWorks Gator Hunt Equipment. He has hunted gators professionally under fair chase principals across the South for two decades, has harvested thousands of gators while safely guiding hundreds of clients to their trophies. At one time, his clients possessed 7 of the top 10 alligators in the Safari Club International (SCI) record book. For 2008, Team RatWorks placed 2nd, 4th and 5th in the Central Florida Trophy Hunts “Big Gator Shootout” and harvested the Georgia state record of 13-7. In 2007, GatorGuides.com was presented the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance “Defender of the Heritage” award for hunting heritage education. Recently, Governor Charlie Crist appoint him to Florida’s Boating Advisory Council. In 2009, he guided for the largest gator harvested in Georgia at 13-51/2”.