A residential community in Hilton Head, South Carolina, has implemented a summer-long fishing ban in response to a recent incident involving an aggressive alligator, WJCL News reports. Footage of the incident, which took place on a small golf course pond inside the community on June 22, has since gone viral.
The short video clip shows a man in a bucket hat casting from the shoreline of the pond. While reeling his lure in, he sees the head of a large alligator breaking the surface. He slowly turns to walk away from the pond. As he does this, the gator keeps swimming toward the bank.
“Here he comes,” says Micah Kimberlin, who filmed the video with his cell phone and shared it to Facebook.
Still looking over his shoulder, the fisherman watches as the gator climbs up onto the bank. He then quickens his pace, and the aggressive gator sprints after him. The video ends with the fisherman running down the cart path and the gator chasing roughly 10 feet behind him.
The incident ended there, as the gator never caught up with the fisherman or anyone else. But it still caused a stir among residents and managers of the Shipyard, an 800-acre residential community on the south end of Hilton Head Island. Like other similar communities in the area, the Shipyard is a water-rich environment with lots of interconnected canals and ponds. These waters contain healthy numbers of alligators along with bass, panfish, and the occasional redfish or snook.
“Many of you may already be aware, but there was a significant alligator incident last Thursday, June 22,” Shipyard general manager Meredith Elmore wrote in a news release. “No one was hurt, but it was definitely a close call when an alligator followed a gentleman who was fishing near the golf club.”
Elmore explained that soon after the incident took place, trappers with K&K Wildlife removed two alligators from the pond. Both appeared to be associating humans with food. They continued to monitor the various waterbodies inside the community. On June 28, trappers removed another eight-foot gator that was acting aggressively when approached.
“The official recommendation from K&K Wildlife was an immediate ban on fishing until we can ensure that the situation is under control,” Elmore said. “Therefore, the Shipyard Executive Committee was polled this morning, and they have decided to ban fishing through Labor Day weekend.”
Morgan Hart, the alligator project coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, agreed with K&K’s assessment.
“My opinion is it was probably an alligator that has been fed,” Hart told reporters. “It has learned that people fishing there have given it food in the past. It is very hard to unteach an alligator that people mean food.”