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February 19, 2009

2008 alligator hunting season results now available

South Carolina alligator hunters reported taking 362 alligators from 13 different counties during the 2008 public alligator hunting season.

Detailed information on the public alligator hunting season and the application process for 2009.

The Middle and Southern Coastal hunt units reported the most alligators taken with 121 and 94, respectively. However, the biggest alligators came from the Midlands unit, where 45 alligators 10 feet long or larger were taken, including 21 that were 12 feet or longer. The largest reported alligator taken last year was 13 feet, 7 inches from Lake Marion in the Midlands unit. Overall, the average size of all alligators caught during the season for all units combined was 9.2 feet.

"We were expecting a success rate of about 20 to 30 percent from the 1,000 available permits, with a subsequent harvest of about 200-300 alligators last year based on Georgia’s data, so our final numbers were a bit higher than we had predicted," said Jay Butfiloski, DNR’s Furbearer and Alligator Program coordinator.

A total of 1,475 prospective hunters from 19 states, and from as far away as Utah, applied for the hunt last year; however, nearly 91 percent of all applications received were from South Carolina residents. One thousand of these applicants were selected to be eligible to purchase an alligator permit and tag. The permit and tag allowed a hunter to harvest one alligator. A total of 789 selected hunters completed the permitting process and purchased a permit and tag. Hunters who were not selected for last year’s hunt will have one preference point for the upcoming 2009 season.

A series of alligator hunting seminars will be held later this summer to provide prospective hunters with information on alligator hunting techniques, regulations and processing.

Applications for this year’s public alligator season will be available online beginning 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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