A Fitchburg woman traveled to South Carolina last week and went on the hunt of a lifetime, catching a 13½-foot, 1,025-pound alligator.
Maryellen Mara-Christian, 48, was alligator hunting Wednesday on Lake Moultrie with her husband, Mark, and a friend, when they spotted the colossal animal.
Mara-Christian was the first to hook the animal. She and her partners fought to reel it in, eventually harpooning it, shooting it, and then severing its spinal cord.
Mara-Christian said she had to get a permit from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, to hunt the alligator during a month-long hunting season.
“Some people don’t understand why we hunt,” said Mara-Christian. “Mankind hunts to help with balance,” she said, adding that’s it’s up to agencies like the DNR to decide what can be hunted.
“If you don’t cull these animals, there will be disease and starvation from overpopulation,” she said. She emphasized that she always eats the meat of the animals she hunts, including black bears, turkeys, deer, and coyotes.
Only 1,000 licenses were given out for the month-long hunting season, and each hunter is only allowed one per year, The Associated Press reported last week in a story on Mara-Christian's hunt.
The alligator had to be moved with a bucket truck. It was taken to a taxidermist, where the meat—now in Mara-Christian’s freezer—was processed. She’s waiting for the hide to be tanned so it can be mounted on her wall.
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