Nation's biggest gators caught in South Carolina - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Nation's biggest gators caught in South Carolina

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) You can find some of the biggest alligators in the US in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.

"They're in the water; the Pee Dee River is full of alligators, and Jeffries Creek that runs up through the middle of Florence has alligators in it," said Dennis Matherly.

Dennis Matherly is the local wildlife expert in the Pee Dee and has been catching nuisance wildlife for more than 25 years.

The 12 foot alligator caught recently is just two feet shorter than the largest alligator ever caught in the state of South Carolina.

Matherly says he was called out to a Florence home to capture the gator. The homeowner said it would not leave the property, and he was worried it would attack his family.

"When they start hanging around people…they just have to go. Like I said we can't relocate them, it's against the law.We use to relocate them when they were less than 6 feet, but we ran out of places to put them," said Matherly.

Officials with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said the state has some of the biggest alligators in the US because there is not an aggressive hunting season in place. In two weeks an alligator hunting lottery will begin, but only a small amount of hunters will be out searching for gators.

"We draw 1200 people each year from four different regions-there is three-hundred drawn from each region,"said Sam Stoke, SCDNR.

Those regions are made up of the bottom half of the state, Midlands, Pee Dee, Middle Coast and Southern Coast. Those hunters were randomly drawn after submitting applications months in advanced.

"Hunting season has dropped our calls some; most of the things we have to take out are big male alligators they're the ones to seem to cause the most problems," said Matherly.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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