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March 5, 2009

Vendors, processors sought for 2009 public alligator hunting season

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is seeking information regarding alligator hunting equipment vendors and alligator processors, as plans are underway to update the South Carolina Alligator Hunting Guide (Pdf file) and hunting information on the agency’s Web site.

"We want to make sure that we are able to provide prospective hunters with a listing of equipment vendors since you don’t normally find alligator capture equipment at the local sporting goods store," said Jay Butfiloski, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Furbearer and Alligator Program coordinator. "While you can find equipment on the Internet, I would really like our hunters to know that they can get some or maybe all of the gear locally."

Detailed information on the public alligator hunting season and the application process is available online.

The DNR is also interested in developing a list of in-state alligator processors so hunters will be able to have a convenient outlet for utilizing as much of the alligator as possible. No special permits are required for someone to process alligators since the meat cannot be sold under the Public Alligator Hunting Program. Potential alligator processors should be aware that the processing of alligators is certainly more involved. "Properly skinning an alligator takes time and effort, so a prospective processor should be aware that the procedure will take much longer than they may be used to as compared to skinning and processing a deer," said Butfiloski. "Also, for hunters who want to have an alligator hide tanned, or if they are planning to sell it, there is a certain way that tanneries or buyers require the hides to be prepared."

A series of alligator hunting seminars will be held this summer to provide prospective hunters with information on alligator hunting techniques, regulations and processing. Vendors will be invited to showcase their equipment and to allow hunters to become familiar with the tools necessary to legally and safely hunt alligators. Processors are also encouraged to attend.

Applications for this year’s public alligator season—Sept. 12 through Oct. 10—will be available online at the DNR Web site beginning on May 1. Prospective hunters must apply online and submit a $10 non-refundable application fee to be considered for the random computer drawing. Applications will continue to be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on June 15, and notifications will begin to be mailed starting on July 1. Hunters who are not selected will be issued one preference point for the 2010 season.

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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