76
      Tuesday
      86 / 73
      Wednesday
      90 / 73
      Thursday
      88 / 73

      Alligator hunter catches and kills 12 foot, nearly 600 pound gator

      Dennis Matherly is known as the Gator Man in the Pee Dee.

      Matherly owns Pee Dee Wildlife Control.

      He's one of the wildlife control operators used by the Department of Natural Resources for nuisance gators.

      Matherly got a call from DNR Tuesday about a 12 foot long nearly 600 pound gator that had made its home in a pond at family's home on Old River Road in Florence County.

      "It was just a typical gator catch. We had him. We got him under control," Matherly said.

      Matherly says he had to kill the gator because it was a threat to the family's children and pets and deemed a nuisance.

      "When something falls in the water, say if a small child falls in the water, that alligator can't distinguish it from an animal say a dog , " he told us.

      DNR says it couldn't relocate the gator because of its size , and if it was moved to another location , it could still be a danger to the community.

      "We run out of places to put them a long time ago," explained Matherly.

      He says alligators are all over the place in the Pee Dee.

      Matherly says he recently killed a gator in the Richmond Hills community of Florence after it became a nuisance to homeowners.

      He says they're migrating in swampy areas in South Florence.

      "We have alligators everywhere. Alligator Road, a little bit south of her got its name from something. And I don't think it was from a possum. Muldrow's Mill Road, I know had alligators in it 25 years ago because I seen them."

      Matherly also serves as a guide for alligator hunters during hunting season.

      "It's just exciting catching gators."

      He feels as if his job is a public service.

      Matherly says he can rest easier knowing he's brought some peace to the family with the 12 foot nearly 600 pound gator living next to their home.

      "They will all have peace of mind and not be petrified that something bad might happens. "

      The 2013 open season for alligator hunting begins in South Carolina September 14 and runs through October 12, according to DNR.

      You can click here to find out more information.