Braswell kills prize alligator

Published 7:30 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

Local outdoorsman Gary Braswell killed a 12-and-a-half foot alligator Thursday on Lake Seminole.

The 562-pound alligator is almost four feet longer than the average gator caught in Georgia in 2009 and only about a foot shorter than the longest gator caught last year, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources alligator harvest statistics.

“I was waiting to launch my boat at Ten Mile Still landing when Mitch Brock, a friend of mine who was waiting behind me, asked me what I was doing,” Braswell recalled.

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“When I told him I had a permit from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Game and Fish Division and was going after alligators, he told me he had seen a big one when he and his son were fishing a few days earlier.”

Brock told Braswell the location he had seen the gator and once there, Braswell saw the alligator’s head come up out of the water.

“I threw a huge hook with a weight on it over his head. He went down, but the line was hooked around his leg and I was able to pull him back to the surface.

“I also stuck a harpoon in him, but I knew there was no way I was going to kill him without shooting him in the head, so I shot him in the head with my 360 Magnum pistol.

“I knew I couldn’t handle him alone, so I tied him to the side of the boat and brought him back to the took where people assisted me.”

Braswell, an award certified taxidermist, and owner of True Life Creations Taxidermy on Spring Creek Road, said he plans to mount the alligator’s head and make belts from his skin. Under the DNR’s alligator quota hunt program, it could be several years before he has an opportunity to get another alligator hunting permit.

In 2009, 700 alligator permits were granted and 193 alligators were harvested. The average length was 103 inches and the longest measured 161 inches. Only an average of about 30-35 percent of hunters who receive a permit are successful in catching an alligator, according to DNR.