13-5 Gator On Seminole Answers A Prayer
Two exhausted men with a busted motor go 50 hours with only three hours of sleep before killing giant alligator.
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Mark Quirk and his brother Charles had done all the right things in preparation for their alligator hunt on Lake Seminole, but their bad luck was reaching the almost-ready-to-give-up stage. That’s when they learned that prayer trumps Murphy’s Law.
Last year Charles assisted with his younger brother Cody’s alligator on Lake Harding, the largest gator ever from the lake. That gator was 12-feet, 6-inches long and weighed 750 pounds. Last season, his 74-year-old father Charlie drew a tag on Lake Seminole. Charles was his guide as he took a gator that was almost 12 feet long.
So, there was no doubt who Mark was going to take along when he drew a tag on Lake Seminole in August.
“I was hunting with Charles and my dad on that trip last year, and we saw a lot of big gators on Lake Seminole,” Mark said. “We were hoping that they would still be there, but we were afraid that maybe someone had gotten them. We went scouting two weeks before the season, and we saw plenty of big gators in the same area, so we were excited.”
After scouting, Mark and his brother agreed that they would target only 12-foot-plus gators. They thought tagging a gator of that size would be relatively easy.
“We hunted all day and night Friday and Saturday with no luck,” Mark said. “On Saturday night, we cracked a head on the boat motor. It would only push Charles’ boat along at 4 mph. We had to decide whether we were going to take the boat back or limp around. The place we were was 3 miles from the boat ramp. Finally, at 3 a.m., we were on our way back when we saw a 12-footer. Charles made a cast, and I made a cast at the same time. Charles hooked him. It was unbelievable, but my hook hooked onto Charles’ hook. When I yanked, it pulled the hook out of the gator.”
The two brothers sat there in disbelief. They were angry and tired. They had gotten just three hours of sleep in the past 50 hours.
“I said a little prayer,” Charles said. “I said ‘God, if this is meant to be, let it happen.’”
Mark said he said a prayer on his own.
“I said, ‘Lord, God please just let us get back to the boat ramp.’”
Cue the Heavenly music.
“Right after I said that prayer, I saw the glowing eyes of what looked like a pretty good gator about 400 yards away,” Charles said. “We eased that way with the trolling motor and he went down, but when he popped up again, he was only about 30 yards away. He was massive.”
Charles got a treble hook in the gator, but he was in water 25 feet deep. The gator was in control.
“He stayed underwater for an hour and 15 minutes,” Charles said. “We finally got two harpoon buoys in him, but he rolled up and got everything tangled. We wanted to pull his head up to see how big he was, but we couldn’t do it the way he was tangled up in everything. It took two hours to get him beside the boat. I finally had to go shoulder deep in the water and shoot him with a pistol.”
The gator turned out to be the biggest alligator either brother had ever been part of. It was eventually measured at 13-feet, 5-inches long. It weighed 650 pounds. There’s one problem with a gator that size. It’s hard for two people to get it in the boat.
“It took a solid hour for us to finally get it in the boat,” Mark said. “There was just the two of us, and we were exhausted. Then, It took an hour-and-a-half to get back to the boat ramp.”
Mark decided to take the gator to a processor. It produced a lot of meat. Just the cape weighed over 200 pounds. He decided to get a full-body mount.
“My wife made sure that I understood right off the bat that it wasn’t going in our house,” Mark said with a laugh. “I decided to give it to Charles. I think he’s having that discussion with his wife right now.”
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