Friday, September 18, 2009

SC Cheerleader Bags Gator

If you're a fan looking for a Trojan cheerleader vs. Florida football player story then you are out of luck.

This is the story of 16 year-old Cammie Colin, cheerleader, softball player, and Lil Wayne fan, who just culled her first alligator in South Carolina's annual alligator harvest.

Although the alligator population in South Carolina dropped so low in 1964 that alligator hunting season was closed, today there are 100,000 alligators in South Carolina (okay, 99,999 now). Because of increases in both the alligator and human populations there were increasing conflicts between gators and humans.

The alligator harvest was first established in 1995. This year there are 1000 permits available. The state is divided into four regions with 250 permits allocated for each region. Permits are assigned by lottery with a preference for those who have been denied permits in the past. There were 3700 applications for the harvest that began at noon on September 12, and runs until noon on October 10.

In order to obtain a permit you must be at least 16 years old, making Colin one of the youngest to obtain a permit. The hunter is not allowed to shoot a free-ranging alligator. The "kill-shot" must be made by something with a line (a crossbow, for example, or a harpoon), so that the alligator doesn't get away. After the gator is brought boatside or onto land it can be shot with a gun. Other people may be in the hunting party, but the permit holder must be the one who makes the kill shot.

In Colin's case there were four other people in the boat with her when she shot the 10.5 foot alligator in the tail. The gator then dragged the boat and its occupants for more than an hour, at which time it was shot by family friend and fellow boat occupant Jay Iadonisi. Said Iadonisi:
You've got five people in the boat, and an upset alligator that doesn't want to go in the boat, and you have to get him up close enough to where you can make a clean kill, and to be as humane as possible.
The 353 pound gator yielded 40 pounds of steaks for Colin's family freezer.

The State (photo) (via Obscure Store)
My Fox Atlanta
Big Game Hunt
Proceedings of the Eighth Eastern Wildlife Damage Management Conference (1997)

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