How to skin a gator
Article was added on Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Above: Passerby Lauren Lurz, a
Charlotte resident, pulled over and stopped at The Skinning Shed to
get a closer look at another 12-footer that Stone and company had
received for processing last fall.
By WALTER ALLREAD
In South Carolina, gators
are unwelcome guests, whether you're talking about those of
the Southeastern Conference variety or the ancient reptiles who
have inhabited our waterways for countless millenia.
For help with the latter (for help
with the former, see one Steve Spurrier), Santee Electric
Cooperative member Randy Stone, owner of The Skinning Shed in
Johnsonville, is your man. A long-time hunter and guide licensed by
the state to trap nuisance gators, Stone added processing
alligators to his list of skills when legal alligator hunting
resumed in South Carolina in 2008.
The month-long alligator season, which
in 2012 runs from Sept. 8 to Oct. 13, has been a huge success with
hunters statewide. According to the S.C. Department of Natural
Resources, 6,400 people from 42 states and Canada applied for
licenses in 2011 for 1,200 permits, which was up 70 percent from
2010. The record length for an alligator caught in South Carolina
is 13 feet, six inches, and Stone says his shop has processed a
similar monster since it opened three years ago.
"We had a 13-footer come to us
[in 2010]," says the 63-year-old Stone, who was born and
raised on a farm about a mile from his store, a converted gas
station located at 441 Kingsburg Hwy.
Stone says skinning a gator, despite
the obvious differences in skin and anatomy, isn't much different
from that of other popular game.
"Really, it's the same as skinning a
deer or hog," Stone says. "You slit them down the back and peel
them out, gut them, hang in the cooler and process in the same
In fact, skinning a gator is the easy
part, according to Stone.
"The draw tag is so hard to get in the
first place, very few people get them," he says. "Then, if you get
lucky enough to get pulled, it's $100 for a tag. And then you have
to go find a gator!"
If you do, Stone has you covered. The
Skinning Shed, he says, can handle all your processing needs for
gators or just about any wild game.
Stone notes, "The Skinning Shed is
state-licensed and inspected. We strive to offer the best service
available to our customers. For nearly four generations the trait
has been in our family. Our facility is the best around the area,
due to it being so modern, clean, and last but not least the
quality. Each processed item is vacuum packed to guarantee
The Skinning Shed offers processing,
mounting-even kayak rentals The Skinning Shed processes a variety
of wild game, ranging from deer to wild hogs, buffalo (and cows) as
well as rabbits, waterfowl, turkeys, quail, alligator and any fish.
Owner Randy Stone says The Skinning Shed can also help with
mountings. "European mounts are completed on site in a timely
manner," he says. Stone also offers a range of two-man hunting
towers. He adds, "We assist with any nuisance animal problems you
may have." Swamp fox kayak and canoe rentals are available daily.
To learn more, call (843) 386-2000 or visit TheSkinningShed.com.
<< Back to the News and Press Listing