Alligator Season - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. I was selected to hunt this year. Where can I go alligator hunting?
  2. Why can't I just mail in an application with a $10 check, like I do for some of the other DNR draw hunts, why must I do this online? What about refunds?
  3. I was unable to apply for the alligator hunt until the last day of the application period (June 15th). Does this hurt my chance of being selected?
  4. My friend wants to apply but he doesn’t have a computer. How can he apply?
  5. I do not have a credit card to pay for the application. Can I mail in a check?
  6. I do not like to pay for things online because I do not want to put any kind of account information on the Internet, shouldn't you have an alternate method of payment?
  7. I was selected and paid for the permit but my plans have changed and I cannot hunt this year. Can my friend use my permit, or can I get a refund?
  8. I was selected for the hunt, but I have not paid for my permit yet. However, my plans have changed and I cannot hunt this year. Can I get a refund?
  9. Can I apply just for Unit 1 and 3?
  10. Does it matter what order I put the units on the application page?
  11. If selected, can I hunt in any unit I want to?
  12. I was selected for this year's hunt and I want to hire a guide that is skilled in alligator capture and hunting. Can I do that?
  13. If I’m selected, can I have friends go with me to help?
  14. My friend wants to ride in the boat with me while I go alligator hunting. He just wants to tag along. Does he have to have a license just to watch or film us?
  15. Can an alligator hunting party take more than one boat?
  16. Can I use an airboat to hunt alligators?
  17. Why can't I use a rifle and shoot an alligator, wouldn't that be easier?
  18. Can I apply if I do not live in South Carolina?
  19. What is the minimum age to apply for the alligator hunt drawing?
  20. Why does a nonresident have to pay $200 for the Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to the nonresident license cost?
  21. I'm in the armed forces and scheduled to be deployed overseas this Fall and don't want to lose my preference points. What should I do?
  22. I'm not sure I’ll be able to hunt this fall, but I don't want to lose my accumulated preference points, what can I do?

1. I was selected to hunt this year. Where can I go alligator hunting?

You are allowed to hunt on any of the navigable waters of the state as long as you stay in the alligator management unit you were selected to hunt. In some instances, rivers are the boundary between two alligator management units. In such cases, you will be allowed to hunt in the main river channel on "your side" of the river, and you may only proceed into smaller tributaries and streams on the side of a river boundary contained in the unit you were selected to hunt. You can also hunt on private lands that are not enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program as long as permission has been granted by the landowner. WMAs and other state and federal properties (such as parks and refuges) are not open for public alligator hunting. Please note that some WMA and Wildlife Refuges’ jurisdictional boundaries extend into the water and thus would not be open to alligator hunting. Check with the managing authority of any State or Federal property located in the area you wish to hunt if you are unsure of the boundaries to ensure you do not accidentally enter into closed hunting areas.

2. Why can't I just mail in an application with a $10 check, like I do for some of the other DNR draw hunts, why must I do this online? What about refunds?

Printing, mailing and entering every application is extremely time-consuming and expensive. Likewise, to issue a refund requires additional paperwork to be processed by the DNR and then by the Comptroller General before anyone can be issued a refund. To do this would potentially cost the state a high percentage of any revenue that it brings from the successful applicants. Since this is a completely new draw hunt, we believe that the cost of the hunt, as well as monitoring of the alligator population and the hunt itself should be self-sustaining with the costs borne by the participants.

3. I was unable to apply for the alligator hunt until the last day of the application period (June 15th). Won't this hurt my chance of being selected?

Not at all. The computer selection process treats all applications submitted during the application period the same whether you apply on the first day, last day, or any day between May 1st and June 15th.

4. My friend wants to apply but he doesn't have a computer. How can he apply?

In person applications will be accepted at a DNR Regional Office located in Charleston, Clemson, Columbia and Florence. A credit card or debit card will still be required.

5. I do not have a credit card to pay for the application. Can I mail in a check?

Unfortunately, at this time only those applications accompanied with a credit card or debit card payment can be processed at this time. This applies to in-person applicants as well.

6. I do not like to pay for things online because I do not want to put any kind of account information on the Internet, shouldn't there be an alternate method of payment?

The online payment system is secure. Many people do not realize that if you have any kind of bank account, credit card, loan, or mortgage, your information already exists on the Internet in a database that you or other banks can access remotely by computer. Every effort has been made to keep your information private.

7. I was selected and paid for the permit but my plans have changed and I cannot hunt this year. Can my friend use my permit, or can I get a refund?

No, alligator permits are non-transferrable. Alligator hunting permits are issued to the individual that was selected for the hunt. Only the person selected during the drawing can be issued and use the alligator permit. No refunds will be issued.

8. I was selected for the hunt, but I have not paid for my permit yet. However, my plans have changed and I cannot hunt this year. Can I get a refund?

No refunds of the $10 application fee will be issued regardless of selection status.

9. Can I apply just for Unit 1 and 3?

Yes, you can apply for any combination of units, including or up to all units (i.e. 1, 2, 3 or 1 & 4, or 3 & 4, or 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on)

10. Does it matter what order I put the units on the application page?

Yes, select the management units in the order you would prefer to hunt. Select the site you would like to hunt most in the first slot, the second slot for the next preferred site, and so on. If there are any management units where you do not wish to hunt do not list them on the application.

11. If selected, can I hunt in any unit?

No, you can only hunt in the one unit where you were selected to hunt as listed on your permit.

12. I was selected for this year's hunt and I want to hire a guide that is skilled in alligator capture and hunting. Can I do that?

Yes, as long as everyone who participates is a licensed SC hunter (resident or nonresident) and at least one member of the party has a current alligator permit and tag. However, only the permit holder may take the alligator. Any nonresident member of an alligator hunting party 16 years of age or older participating in the Alligator Hunting Season, guides included, must also pay a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to any permit and license costs.

13. If I'm selected, can I have friends go with me to help?

Actually, DNR encourages alligator hunters to take other licensed hunters with them to assist with the hunt. Please note: any nonresident member of an alligator hunting party 16 years of age or older participating in the Alligator Hunting Season must also pay a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to any permit and license costs.

14. My friend wants to ride in the boat with me while I go alligator hunting. He just wants to tag along. Does he have to have a license just to watch or film us?

Yes. Anyone 16 years of age or older riding in the boat with an alligator hunting party would be considered assisting in the alligator hunt, and must have a SC Hunting License. In addition, any nonresident member of an alligator hunting party 16 years of age or older must pay a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to the cost of the hunting license.

15. Can an alligator hunting party take more than one boat?

Yes. However, everyone must possess a SC Hunting License and any nonresident member of an alligator hunting party 16 years of age or older must pay a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to the cost of the hunting license. Please note: any accompanying boats must be within direct sight and sound of the permitted alligator hunter at all times.

16. Can I use an airboat to hunt alligators?

Maybe. There are restrictions regarding the use of airboats in certain waters and during certain times of the year. Early waterfowl seasons (Canada goose or teal) could be in effect during the alligator hunting season that may preclude the use of airboats in parts of Lake Marion and the Santee Swamp, and in portions of Horry and Georgetown Counties. See below: SECTION 50-21-860. Restrictions on use of airboats. As used in this section, "airboat" means a watercraft propelled by air pressure caused by a motor mounted on the watercraft aboveboard. (A) It is unlawful for a person to operate an airboat on the public waters of this State from the freshwater-saltwater dividing line, established by Section 50-5-80, seaward. (B) It is unlawful to operate an airboat on the waters of the Waccamaw, the Great Pee Dee, the Little Pee Dee, the Black, and the Sampit Rivers in Georgetown and Horry Counties from one hour before legal sunset to one hour after legal sunrise and anytime during the season for hunting waterfowl. (C) It is unlawful to operate an airboat on the waters of that portion of Lake Marion and Santee Swamp west of the I-95 bridge upstream to the confluence of the Congaree and Wateree Rivers during the season for hunting waterfowl.

17. Why can't I use a rifle and shoot an alligator, wouldn't that be easier?

All alligators taken during the hunting season must be secured and brought to the bank or alongside a boat before being dispatched. Shooting free swimming or basking alligators can be dangerous (bullets easily ricochet off water) and often leads to loss of the alligator before a hunter can retrieve the animal. The tendency is for the alligator to submerge in the water after being shot, and many hunters may think they have missed, but in fact may have killed or mortally wounded the alligator. The hunter may continue to hunt and unknowingly kill additional alligators before being able to retrieve one. This would lead to an unmanageable and unnecessary number of alligators lost and is a waste of the resource. This activity would be unacceptable, as this is not an alligator eradication program.

18. Can I apply if I do not live in South Carolina?

Yes, but you will have to have a nonresident hunting license in order to participate as well as pay a $200 Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee before going afield. However, you do not have to pay this fee or have a license just to apply. The cost of an annual nonresident SC hunting license is $125. A 10-day or 3-day nonresident license, valid for consecutive days only, is available at $75 and $40 respectively.

19. What is the minimum age to apply for the alligator hunt drawing?

The minimum age to apply is 16; however, there is no minimum age in order to participate with an alligator hunting party. Also, the Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee or license requirement does not apply to anyone under the age of 16.

20. Why does a nonresident have to pay $200 for the Nonresident Alligator Hunting Fee in addition to the nonresident license cost?

The overall cost of any permit, license, hunting and application fees for a nonresident to hunt alligators in South Carolina is in line with other states that permit nonresidents to hunt alligators.

21. I'm in the armed forces and scheduled to be deployed overseas this Fall and don't want to lose my preference points. What should I do?

There is an option to apply for the alligator hunt but not be considered for the actual drawing. Select "Public Non Draw" (or "WMA Non Draw" for WMA Alligator Hunts) this ensures you will receive an additional preference point for this year and remain active in the alligator hunting system. You will still have to pay the application fee, but you will not be considered for this year's drawing. If you find out you are being deployed after applying for the hunt, then contact the Alligator Program at 803-734-3609.

22. I'm not sure I’ll be able to hunt this fall, but I don't want to lose my accumulated preference points, what can I do?

There is an option to apply for the alligator hunt but not be considered for the actual drawing. Select "Public Non Draw" (or "WMA Non Draw" for WMA Alligator Hunts) this ensures you will receive an additional preference point for this year and remain active in the alligator hunting system. You will still have to pay the application fee, but you will not be considered for this year’s drawing.