Untamed Lowcountry

Alligator shot repeatedly with arrows on Hilton Head; DNR investigating

An alligator on Hilton Head Island was euthanized Saturday after animal-removal employees caught it and discovered it had 11 arrow wounds, they said Monday.

The 8-foot-long alligator was found near Widewater and McIntosh roads in the Spanish Wells neighborhood at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Both of its eyes were shot out by arrows, and a broad-head tip -- a metal arrowhead used by bow hunters -- was found between its eyes, said Joe Maffo, owner of Critter Management.

Maffo said the animal was so badly wounded he initially believed it was dead. But when he got close to the alligator to touch it, it moved away from him. Realizing that the gator was dying, Maffo euthanized it after contacting authorities.

"Whoever did this should be held responsible," he said. "It really is a sad thing. I don't know a word for it. It's worse than abuse."

Critter Management biologist Matt Kraycar said the shaft of one arrow was still in the alligator when it was found. Kraycar said they turned in the arrow shaft to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, which is investigating the gator's death.

"DNR should make an example out of whoever did this," Maffo said.

Attempts to reach a DNR official for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.