Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The S.C. Department of Natural Resources is accepting online applications for the 2013 public alligator and Wildlife Management Area alligator hunting seasons.
More than 100,000 alligators live from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina and the population is not threatened by the regulated removal of a relatively small number of alligators.
Last year, hunters took 465 alligators during the public hunting season with the average size being nearly nine feet in length.
A $10 nonrefundable application fee is required to apply for the public lands hunt and a $15 nonrefundable application fee is charged to apply for the WMA alligator hunt.
A randomized computer drawing based on a preference point system will determine the selection of hunters. Applicants can only apply and pay fees online or at one of the walk-up counters at a DNR Regional Office in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. No paper applications will be accepted.
The season will begin at noon on Sept. 14 and run until noon on Oct. 12. The deadline to apply is June 15.
The coastal plain is divided into four units with 300 permits allocated for each. Applicants can select any or all of the units, but a permit is only good for one unit per season.
If selected, a $100 fee for the permit and one harvest tag is required to be paid online. Unsuccessful applicants will accumulate preference points for future drawings. Preference points add to the likelihood of being drawn in future years.
All hunters will be notified beginning in mid-July of their selection status.
Hunters participating in the public alligator hunting season may take alligators in public waters and on private land where permission is granted, but alligator hunting is prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas and USFWS Wildlife Refuges. In addition, public alligator season permits cannot be used on lands enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program.
People selected for the WMA alligator hunt can take up to three assistants and have access to either Bear Island WMA or Santee Coastal WMA for one hunt (Monday at noon to Saturday at noon). There are four available hunt periods during the WMA season.
The cost for the WMA alligator hunting permit, if successfully selected in the computerized drawing, is $500 for residents and $800 for nonresidents. Four hunters (plus assistants) per week will get permits for each hunt period on Bear Island WMA and Santee Coastal WMA. All hunters must have a hunting license, WMA permit, and if a nonresident, pay the nonresident alligator hunting fee.
In addition, there is the availability of a second WMA tag for an alligator from 4-7 feet in total length. The second WMA tag may be used by anyone in the hunt party provided the person to whom the tag was originally issued is present. The cost for the second WMA tag is $75, in addition to all other fees and must be purchased at the same time as the first tag. The additional WMA tag is only valid during the chosen week for the selected WMA property.
Fees collected are used to support the Alligator Management Program’s research and management activities, and for conservation of the American alligator.
Only alligators four feet or greater in length may be taken and the hunter must tag the animal immediately. This hunting season does not allow the shooting of unsecured alligators, even on private land. All alligators must be secured using approved equipment and brought boat-side or onto land before they can be dispatched. While others may assist the permitted hunter, all participants (including permittee) must possess a valid South Carolina hunting license. All selected hunters and participants in the WMA alligator hunts must also possess a Wildlife Management Area permit.
In addition to the required S.C. hunting license, application, and permit fees, all nonresident alligator hunters are required to pay an added nonresident alligator hunting fee of $200 before going afield. This fee is valid for participation in any of the alligator hunting programs. The nonresident fee is also required for any nonresident assistants 16 years of age or older.
DNR will conduct a series of optional seminars for those selected for the alligator season that will include vital information on how to conduct a safe and successful hunt. DNR will monitor these hunts and the harvest and regulations may be modified for future seasons.
Permit applications can be found at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html. Updates on seminars can also be found there.
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