Petite woman who bagged monster alligator defends trophy hunt

Posted: September 21, 2010 by The STR in NEWS & LOCAL NEWS
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An American Alligator in captivity at the Colu...

Image via Wikipedia

Maryellen Mara-Christian last week caught and killed what some might perceive to be a genuine monster: an American alligator measuring more than 13 feet and weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

Now, it seems, the hunter has become the hunted. 

Her story, which played out over two chaotic hours onLake Moultrie in South Carolina, made national headlines and morning and evening news shows. They found it remarkable that a woman who stands just 5 feet 5 and weighs only 120 pounds could wrangle such a mammoth beast.

Afterward, however, some people became outraged by the methods used to dispatch the great reptile: baited fishing lines, followed by harpoons, a muzzle snare, shots from a .22-caliber weapon and, ultimately, a knife jab to the spinal cord.

“This woman should be in jail, not on TV,” was among the tamer comments posted beneath a story on

“They tortured that alligator for hours. That’s just plain sick,” a reader chimed in.

The hunter, who is from Massachusetts and received help from her husband and a guide, defended her actions and correctly stated that hunting of gators is legal in South Carolina and a limited seasonal hunt is how the state’s wildlife agency keeps their numbers in check. 

“I enjoy nature and animals a great deal and I understand why there is a reason for hunting,” Mara-Christian told the Boston Herald. “I hunt because I want these creatures to be here forever.”

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources states in the introduction of an online hunters’ guide

“The alligator hunting season is integral to the conservation of the American alligator in South Carolina, adds to the value of the animal and allows hunters to benefit from this sustainable and renewable natural resource.”

The online guide also lists devices that can be used to attach a restraining line to the dangerous reptiles, after they’ve been baited and brought alongside the boat. They include hand-held snares, harpoons, gigs, arrows and snatch hooks.

Alligators are typically dispatched with a bang-stick or a handgun.

Mara-Christian’s gator is a serious trophy. American alligators rarely exceed 10 feet and top out at about 13 feet. The male specimen captured by Mara-Christian was estimated to be between 60-75 years old, and very near the end of its lifespan.

“I was hoping for something around 10 feet,” she told the Berkeley Independent. “We never imagined landing something like this.


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