South Carolina, — The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will begin accepting online applications for the 2019 Public Alligator Hunting season at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html. It is estimated that 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 337 alligators during the public alligator hunting season, with the average size being just under nine feet in length.
A $10 nonrefundable application fee is required to apply for the Public Lands 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 an SCDNR Regional Office in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. No paper applications will be accepted. This year’s season will begin at 12 p.m. (noon) on Sept. 14 and run until 12 p.m. (noon) on Oct. 12. The deadline to apply is 5:00pm on June 15th.
If selected, a $100 fee for the permit and one harvest tag is required to be paid online through the same online alligator hunting application system. Unsuccessful applicants will accumulate preference points for future alligator hunt 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 (WMAs) and USFWS Wildlife Refuges. In addition, public alligator season permits cannot be used on lands enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program.
By law, the fees collected are used to support the Alligator Management Program’s research and management activities, and for conservation of the American Alligator in South Carolina.
Only alligators four feet or greater in length may be taken and the hunter must tag the animal immediately with a harvest tag provided by SCDNR for any of the alligator hunting programs. 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.
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 alligator hunting fee is also required for any nonresident alligator hunting assistants 16 years of age or older.
SCDNR will closely monitor these hunts and the harvest and regulations may be modified for future seasons. Please check the SCDNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html for any changes and updates.