They came out here and cut his whole head off, and also his two front legs and his tail, said Donnie Brown, the owner of Brown Feed & Seed off Washington Road.
The alligator, estimated to weigh more than 200 pounds, lived in a swampy pond on property behind his store.
Mr. Brown said it is likely the thieves brought a chainsaw or reciprocating saw with them, indicating the incident was premeditated.
We think it happened late Saturday night, he said.
The remaining portion of the gator carcass was found by workers this morning.
Mr. Brown said he will report the crime to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Although Georgia has a season for alligator hunting, the season is not currently open and Columbia County is not in a part of the state where a season even exists, said Law Enforcement Sgt. Doyte Chaffin of the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division.
While there is a season in certain counties, Columbia County doesnt have a population that is viable to hunt, he said, adding that the offenders could face a series of charges including trespassing, hunting in a closed season and possession of illegally taken wildlife.
Mr. Brown said it is likely the poachers planned to skin the tail for the meat and perhaps save the head for mounting.
I knew we had a few people who were on me about the gator, and didnt want it back there, but I didnt think nobody would do something like this, Mr. Brown said.