Hunting Giant Gators In SC More swamp dragons are being slain in the Deep South; and not just from Florida and Louisiana. By Bob McNally | Published Oct 22, 2009 5:55 PM EDT Hunting It takes a real woman to slay a dragon the size of this baby. Taken from the nearby Edisto River, so-called "river alligators" are suppose to be small compared to lake-living ones. Apparently, this dragon didn't get the memo. SHARE Last year South Carolina opened its first modern public alligator hunt, with 1,000 tags offered and about 300 alligators harvested during a 30-day season running mid-September to mid-October. This year’s hunt has just concluded, with about the same success rate. But according to Claudia Cordray, who with her husband Michael and family run Cordray’s Processing (near Charleston, cordrays.com) the gators taken have generally been bigger and heavier than last year. Kara Slick’s 12-foot-3 alligator taken this year was so huge it barely fit inside a full-size pick-up truck, and was so heavy (600 pounds) a front-end loader was needed to remove it for processing at Cordray’s. The giant gator’s head and toothy maw dwarfs Kara as it’s lifted from the truck. It takes a real woman to slay a dragon the size of this baby. Taken from the nearby Edisto River, so-called “river alligators” are suppose to be small compared to lake-living ones. Apparently, this dragon didn’t get the memo. Kara is a personal trainer, and this photo is destined for her new business card – a sure draw for business, don’t you think. The same day Kara brought her giant gator in for processing at Cordray’s, another 11-foot-10, nearly 500-pound lizard was brought in by hunter Brian Allens. That’s over 1,000 pounds of alligator hanging from the front-end loader. While this year has seen an overall larger size harvest of alligators from South Carolina, few were as big as the one taken September 13, 2008 by local sportsman Mark Merting from Lake Moultrie (Santee-Cooper complex). It’s so huge it barely fits in Merting’s swamp skiff. This massive gator had got fat eating fish-cleaning remains near the Russellville Boat Land on Lake Moultrie, before Mark Merting killed it and dragged the reptile into his skiff. He needs a bigger boat! Taxidermist Kenneth Cordray struggles to open the huge gator’s impressive jaws, while hunter Mark Merting watches. It took a front-end loader to remove the outsize gator from Merting’s 14-foot boat. The head of his alligator is bigger than Merting’s torso and head combined! The modern dragon measured 12-foot-5, and weighed 850 pounds. Its maw is easily large enough to engulf a large person. The claws of Merting’s gator don’t look real. Larger than a baseball glove, with claws the size of human fingers, they are capable of removing a human head with a single swipe. Taxidermist Kenneth Cordray shows Merting’s gator hide. He’ll need a large trophy room for this big lizard. More swamp dragons are being slain in the Deep South; and not just from Florida and Louisiana.