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June 3, 2009

Deadline to apply for ’09 alligator hunting season is drawing near

The deadline to apply for the public alligator season this year is fast approaching. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources will accept online applications for this year’s public alligator season until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 15. After this date, a randomized drawing will occur to fill 1,000 permits allowing hunters to take one alligator each during the upcoming alligator hunting season.

More than 100,000 alligators live from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina. The regulated removal of alligators will not threaten the population. Hunters took 362 alligators during last year’s season. All alligator hunters must have a South Carolina Hunting License, a S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Alligator Harvest Permit and an Alligator Harvest Tag in their possession while afield.

All alligators taken must be tagged immediately and reported to the DNR. All applicants must be 16 or older at the time of the hunt to be eligible for an Alligator Harvest Permit; however, youth are allowed to accompany a permittee during the actual hunt. This hunting season does not allow the shooting of unsecured alligators, even on private land. The alligator must be secured using approved equipment and brought boat-side or onto land before it can be dispatched.

Applicants for the alligator hunting season must apply and pay online through the application available on the DNR’s website. First time users of this system will have to create a new user account to continue with the application process. Remember your username and password, as it can be used to conduct other online business such as applying for turkey tags or renewing a boat registration.

All applicants must pay a $10 nonrefundable fee to apply. If selected, an additional $100 fee for a permit is required, and each hunter will be allowed to harvest one alligator. Unsuccessful applicants will accumulate preference points for future alligator hunt drawings.

The coastal plain region of South Carolina has been divided into four alligator management units, and 250 permits will be issued for each unit (1,000 total). Applicants can select the option to be considered for 1, 2, 3, or any of the units, but the permit issued will only allow them to hunt in one unit per season. This year’s season will begin at noon on Sept. 12 and end at noon on Oct. 10. Hunting may take place at any time of day, but most alligator hunting generally takes place during the evening.

Only alligators 4 feet or greater in length may be taken. Others may assist or accompany the permitted hunter, but all participants must either be licensed South Carolina hunters or under the age of 16. No alligator hunting is allowed on public lands such as Wildlife Management Areas (except in navigable waters normally open to the general public for hunting), state parks, or federal properties like national wildlife refuges and their jurisdictional waters.

DNR will host a series of optional seminars beginning in late July for those selected for the alligator season that will include vital information to conduct a safe and successful hunt. DNR will closely monitor these hunts and the harvest and regulations may be modified for future seasons.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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