CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Imagine out gator hunting and catching the gator of a lifetime. That is exactly what happened to a couple of hunters over the last few days here in the Lowcountry.
"It scared the living daylights out of me, it was the biggest thing we've ever seen," said Mack Williams who was out gator hunting with his friend Ralph Crawford.
"It was one of the hardest undertakings I've had in 68 years, and then the fight was on" said Crawford.
With no big expectations the friends were looking for something considered a normal size gator, something between 8 and 9 feet long. But when they finally hooked on to one, they realized they got something bigger than expected.
"I couldn't believe it was that big. I couldn't believe it," said Williams.
The gator they caught is a little more than 12 feet and weighs 575 pounds, a surprise they didn't expect. Thankfully the friends had family in the boat with them.
"Without the third guy, my nephew Ted Williams, we would have had to cut the line. Ralph and I couldn't have brought him in" said Williams.
"We've seen big gator's before. Nothing close, nothing compares to this thing," said Crawford.
But the friends weren't the only hunters to catch a big one.
"This is like the Loch Ness monster. It made me feel like a teenager again," said Jerry Zajaczek
He caught an 11 foot gator weighing more than 345 pounds in the Combahee River. Gator hunting was something Zajaczek always wanted to do. He even put it on his bucket list.
"When we finally got him in the boat, I thought holly smoke this was worth the bucket list. It was exciting. It was a real rush," said Zajaczek.
For the hunters, a night out on the river turned into an experience they will never forget, and enough food to last for awhile.
"We'll make gator bites, probably have some cube gator and stew gator and about any gator you want," said Crawford.
In order to go gator hunting, hunters must first apply for a permit through the Department of Natural Resources. A computer then randomly selects people who will get a permit. There are certain restrictions hunters must follow when out hunting.
Gator season started Sept. 14 and goes until Oct. 12.