Gator Hunting Season Nears

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will start reserving permits for participating in this year’s statewide alligator harvest at 8 a.m., July 12.

The FWC has replaced the former random drawing for permits with a first-come, first-served system.

Interested persons can reserve a permit at any county tax collector’s office, authorized sporting goods store or other retailer selling hunting or fishing licenses, online at www.wildlifelicense.com/fl or by calling toll-free (1-888-486-8356 or 1-888-347-4356) from anywhere in the United States or Canada.

Harry Dutton, head of the FWC’s Alligator Management Section, said everyone who participated last year should receive a letter with instructions about the new permit process.

“The best way to reserve a permit is through the Internet,” Dutton said. “By doing so, you’ll avoid lines and any other delays you might encounter at walk-up locations or with the toll-free number.”

Approximately 3,800 permits will be available. Each permittee will be authorized to take two alligators from a designated area during a specific harvest period between Sept. 1 and Oct. 8.

When reserving a permit, participants will be able to list up to five hunt area choices. To be eligible for a permit, applicants must be at least 18 years old by Sept. 1. Anyone convicted of violating wildlife laws relating to alligator trapping within the past five years or violating laws relating to endangered crocodilians within the past 10 years is ineligible to take part in the hunt.

To reserve a permit, participants must submit payment for an Alligator Trapping License and two validation tags, or provide proof of a valid Alligator Trapping License (valid through Oct. 8 of the current year) plus the fee for two hide validation tags.

The cost for a Resident Alligator Trapping License and tags will be $271.50 at a tax collector’s office or $272 at other locations. Non-resident fees will be $1,021.50 at a tax collector’s office or $1,022 at other locations. If purchased through the Internet or toll-free number, there will be an additional $2.25 plus 2.5 percent for Internet sales or an additional $3.25 plus 2.5 percent for toll-free sales.

Florida residents who reserve permits online or by phone must have a Florida driver’s license.

Alligator Trapping Agent Licenses are available at the same locations for $51.50. Trapping agents are allowed to assist the trapper in taking alligators, but only in the presence of the permitted trapper.

The FWC strongly encourages permitted trappers to attend a no-cost, three-hour training and orientation program that will take place throughout the state during July and August. Date and location notices will be in permit packages.

License fees for participants in the statewide alligator harvest are non-refundable except under extraordinary conditions such as incapacitating illness or injury of the license holder (documented by a sworn physician’s statement), military obligations or death. Refunds will not be granted, regardless of circumstances, after Sept. 1.

For more information about the statewide alligator harvest program, visit MyFWC.com/alligator and click on Statewide Hunts.