Florida Offers Free Classes on Gator Hunting

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering alligator hunters no-cost, three-hour classes to help prepare alligator hunters for the coming statewide alligator harvest, which runs Aug. 15 through Nov. 1. Reservations are not required to attend a class.

This is an opportunity for hunters who have never participated in the state’s alligator hunts to learn what hunting alligators is all about. Attendance is not mandatory for licensed hunters, but the FWC recommends participants attend, especially if they have never gator hunted. Class topics include: preparing for the hunt; hunting techniques and safety; harvesting and processing; caring for your alligator hide; and alligator hunting rules and regulations.

Classes will be offered at the following locations:

  • Saturday - July 15, 1-4 p.m., Heritage Holiday Inn, 234 Third Ave. N., St. Petersburg. For directions call (727) 822-4814 or visit www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/hd/piedt. Participants must obtain parking passes at hotel front desk.

  • Wednesday - July 19, 6-9 p.m., Paramount Plaza Hotel and Suites, 2900 S.W. 13th St., Gainesville. For directions call (352) 377-4000 or visit www.paramountplaza.com.

  • Saturday - July 22, 1-4 p.m., Comfort Inn and Conference Center, 2520 S.R. 434 W., Longwood. For directions call (407) 862-4000 or visit www.choicehotels.com/ires/en-US/html/HotelInfo?hotel=FL714.

  • Wednesday - July 26, 6-9 p.m., Bryant Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 620 S. Meridian St., Tallahassee. For directions call (850) 488-3831.

  • Saturday - July 29, 1-4 p.m., International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach. For directions call (954) 922-4212 or visit www.igfa.org.

  • Saturday - August 5, 1-4 p.m., Okeechobee County Civic Center, 1750 U.S. Hwy. 98 N., Okeechobee. For directions call (863) 462-5195.

Sale of alligator permits began June 15, and all available permits were sold in four hours. Permitted alligator hunters can expect to receive their licenses and hide validation tags by July 21.

An alligator trapping "agent" license can still be purchased for $52. This allows the agent to assist a licensed trapper in taking alligators, but only in the presence of that trapper.

Since 1988, the FWC has offered alligator hunts, which provide a thrilling, hands-on hunting adventure that is unlike any other hunting experience imaginable. For more information on these exciting alligator hunts, visit MyFWC.com/gators and click on "Statewide Hunts."