Gator hunting applications on the rise

Alligator with small deer on coastal golf course near Charleston

The number of applicants for alligator hunting permits is expected to be considerably higher this year. The Department of Natural Resources expects to receive up to 2500 applications for a drawing that will select 1000 names for permits. There were 362 alligators killed in South Carolina last year.
Last year was the first year of the permit lottery. There is a $10 non-refundable application fee.
Jay Butfiloski is Alligator Program Coordinator at DNR. He says most hunters are after the thrill of pursuing a large dangerous animal.   “They’re allowed to keep any meat they can get off the animal.  They’re allowed to sell the hide or have it tanned.  Some places will make it  into belts or boots, whatever you feel like paying for.”

Applications will be accepted through this Monday, June 15. Alligator season runs from the second Saturday in September through the second Saturday in October. Butfiloski says in order to legally kill an alligator in South Carolina, you have to attach a line to it first, to prevent the animal from escaping injured.  “You can’t just ride around at night and take pot shots at them.  You have to attach some kind of line, whether it’s a weighted treble hook or a crossbow line.  Or you can use a bow fishing outfit.  You can even use a snare if you want to, like a snare on a poll.”
A harpoon attached to a  float is another common alligator hunting weapon.
The DNR website contains a guide telling you how to “dress” a gator. Butfiloski says it takes a lot longer to dress an alligator than it does a deer. There are also a few businesses that will do that for you.

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