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Alligator Processing: Maryellen Mara-Christian Hunt, Kills Giant Alligator in Lake Moultrie, South Carolina

Sat September 18 2010 11:16 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=29256
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A Massachusetts woman caught a 13-foot 1,025-pound alligator during a hunt in South Carolina this week. Maryellen Mara-Christian, 46, is an experienced hunter, but this was her first gator.

In an exclusive interview on CBS “The Early Show on Saturday Morning,” Maryellen Mara-Christian explained that she was out on a boat on Lake Moultrie with her husband and a few friends when the former bank marketing officer from Fitchburg, Massachusetts hooked the alligator with her heavy-duty fishing pole. The group harpooned the alligator and took about 2 hours to secure the alligator and bring it to shore.

Alligator hides bring good prices and hides in the 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 m) range have sold for $300 each, though the price can fluctuate considerably from year to year. The market for alligator meat is growing and approximately 300,000 pounds of meat is produced annually.
Alligator meat is sometimes used in jambalayas, soups, and stew.According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, raw alligator meat contains roughly 200 calories (840 kJ) per 3 ounces serving size, of which 27 calories come from fat. Alligator farming is a big and growing industry in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. These states produce a combined annual total of some 45,000 alligator hides.

On September 16, 2007, Bill Hedden, 59, was snorkeling in the lake when he was attacked by a 12-foot (3.7 m), 600 lb alligator, which ripped off his left arm. Five nurses who were at a picnic nearby were able to stop the bleeding until help arrived. The alligator was killed and the arm recovered, but doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina were not able to reattach it.

Lake Moultrie is the third largest lake in South Carolina covering over 60,000 acres near Bonneau, Moncks Corner, Pineville, Pinopolis, Russelville and St. Stephen, South Carolina.

The lake consists of shallow swamps, black water ponds, thousands of tree stumps and live cypress trees, as well as large open areas of water. Lake Moultrie does not form ice in winter months.

A world record Channel Catfish weighing 58 lb (26 kg). was caught from this lake. The lake also holds the state record for Black Crappie (5 lbs).


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