Gator tags in SC are by draw. You list your preferred areas. I was lucky and got my first choice.
Nuts? Nah! I did take my bow all rigged up for a big fish, but I had to adapt. The gators hear or see you and they hed to the bottom. The closest you'll get with a bow before they sound is maybe 20 yards. Certainly a shootable distance, but factor in a pitching boat being taken by the current, the wind, the bow reel oine that acts as a sail for your arrow, and of course the gator's hide. The older ones, like the one in the picture, have armor that a SWAT team would envy. My arrow glanced off of this one like it was a mosquito. As did "Uncle Bob's Stainless Steel Harpoon". That one surprised me. They use those for sharks with no problem. This one we had him on a thinnker line when I aimed for just behind his jaw and rammed the harpoon in. The result was something along the lines of a Buggs Bunny or Wile E coyote episode - the harpoon shaft bent off his hide as a 90 degree angle.
To do it right, you need to hook them by draging the treble hook on the bottom. You'll know when you snag one. Reel them up slowly. They really don't put up a fight until they get to the surface, and even then, are pretty calm until you make a sudden move or embed a 38 in its skull. Ideally, you want to get a second line in, which is where the bow or harpoon comes in. In reality, if you have over 100 pound line with a stainless leader you can slowly move it next to the boat for the shot. Once you shoot, look out. Claws, jaws and tail rolling around. If your line breaks, you are sunk - literally. They sink and do not float.
We spent 3 nights after this one. Yes, you hunt them at night. Kind of adds to the suspense. Finally landed himn about 3 AM. After we got him next to the boat and got a second line in him with the bow (after the 44), there were a few puzzled looks as to just who was going to tape its jaws. They still have pretty good reflexes, even when dead. When we got this one back to the landing about 1.5 hours later, his tail lashed all over the place like he was still alive.
I have hunted virtually all of my life-over 40 years of hunting. This was my first gator hunt, and it was a blast. It you really hunt THE ONE, it is a lot of work, but worth it. I am having a hard time thinking of a better hunt - this was a combo hunting/fishing experience. They don't get to be 100 years old by being stupid.