Manned with a crossbow, harpoon and a bang stick in the middle of the night aboard a 15-foot river boat they made their way down the Choctawhatchee River in search of gator.

With the head just barely visible out of the water and red eyes glowing, TJ George and Ash Miller spotted what they came for — gator.

“We were having a hard time getting close,” said George, who is also captain of the charter boat High Cotton in Destin. “We missed three times in a row on one gator.

“We were rather disheartened … but leaving there on the way out we just happened to see the one,” George added.

The two followed the gator as it zigged and zagged across the river.

They finally got close enough for Miller to put a dart in it with the crossbow.

“He darted it and it tried to take us over in the cypress trees and then it turned back, and then it turned hard again. It took out all the line we had and almost pulled the boat over,” George said.

They got the gator up to the boat twice and finally got it up for George to get a good harpoon shot in him.

At that point the gator came up to the boat chomping.

George wasn’t real concerned, except for the fact he was wearing flip flops and his feet were right at the side of the boat.

With a crossbow dart and a harpoon in the gator all that was left to do was hit it with a bang stick.

Miller hit it first with the bang stick.

“It just kept slapping the boat. It’s hard to get a good shot on them because they are spinning and chomping … it has to be at the right angle,” George said.

After Miller got off a shot, George put about three or four more in the gator.

“I wanted to make sure he was dead before I grabbed him,” he said.

From start to finish, it took the two guys about 30 minutes to board the 9-foot-8-inch gator.

“We were surprised how quick we got it in,” George said.

Before the two left the river, they also gigged some frogs.

“We had a swamp fry (Sunday),” George said. “We had frog legs and gator tale with the family.”