Gator Hunters Get Longer Season and Multiple Permits

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At its February 2006 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved changes to the statewide alligator harvest program to offer alligator hunters a longer season and a chance to buy multiple permits during this year’s hunts.

Since 1988, the FWC has offered these alligator hunts, which provide a thrilling, hands-on hunting adventure unlike any other hunting experience imaginable.

Starting this year, the season will include 41 additional hunt-days and will run Aug. 15 to Nov. 1.

Hunters also will be able to purchase additional permits if available, but they can purchase only one permit per transaction. More than 4,000 alligator harvest permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sale of these permits begins 10 a.m. (EDT) June 15. Applicants have their preference of applying at any county tax collector’s office, license agent (retail outlet that sells hunting and fishing licenses), online at MyFWC.com/license or by calling toll-free 1-888-HUNT FLORIDA (486-8356).

To purchase a permit, applicants must submit payment for an alligator trapping license and two alligator-hide validation tags, or provide proof of a valid alligator trapping license (must be valid through Nov. 1) plus pay the fee for the two hide validation tags. No other hunting licenses or permits are required.

The cost for a resident alligator trapping license and hide validation tags is $272, and nonresidents pay $1,022. The cost for additional permits is $62 regardless of residency.

An alligator trapping “agent” license is also available for $52. This allows the license holder to assist a trapper in taking alligators but only when in the presence of the permitted trapper.

To educate participants on the rules and regulations of the hunts, the FWC offers a no-cost, three-hour training and orientation program throughout the state. Alligator hunters are not required to attend, but first-time participants are strongly encouraged to do so. Courses will be offered in July and August, and all permit holders will receive, by mail, packages listing exact dates and locations of these training sessions.

For more information on how to get involved in these exciting alligator hunts, visit MyFWC.com/gators and click on "Statewide Hunts."