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Time To Apply For Alligator Lottery

May 1st marked the opening for applications to be submitted to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources for the opening of alligator hunting season. Alligator hunting is a unique process, unlike most hunting in South Carolina, there is an application process and hunting is based on a lottery selected by a computer. The application process runs from May 1st through June 15th with the official season opening every year on the second Saturday in September and running through the second Saturday in October. For 2017, the season will begin September 9th through October 14th. South Carolina is broken up into four regions that the alligator lottery and permits pull from. Region one is the Southern Coastal Region, Region two is Middle Coast, Region three is the Midlands, and Region four is Pee Dee. According to Sgt. Andrew Godowns with SCDNR, “Colleton County falls into the Southern Coastal Region and there are 250 tags that will be drawn.” Applicants can register online at SCDNR website and hunters who are selected by the alligator lottery will be notified beginning in early July. Once an applicant is notified that they have been drawn for an alligator permit, they are required to go back online and fill out additional paperwork and a fee for the alligator permit. “Because a hunter lives in a certain area they are not guaranteed to draw a tag for that area” Sgt. Godowns said, “and once a hunter is drawn they have the opportunity to select their desired area to hunt until all tags are filled in that area.” Important things to remember about alligator hunting is only one alligator can be taken per permit, they must be at least four feet in length, they cannot be baited or pole hunted, and no rifles or long guns are allowed in any boats. Once you have received your permit for alligator hunting it is non-refundable and non-transferable. The SCDNR also offers classes in certain areas that teach hunters techniques and the proper way to harvest an alligator if they receive a permit. Once hunters have received their permits it is also important to remember boating safety, “Hunters should make sure they have all the safety equipment required in their boats ,” according to Sgt. Godowns, these safety items include things such as life jackets, sound device, throwable devices, fire extinguisher, etc. Since the majority of the alligator hunts do take place at night, Sgt. Godowns also suggest, “Hunters should be aware of the body of water they are navigating and make sure their navigation lights are working and in use.” Alligators can be located in most of South Carolina and it is important whether you are an avid hunter or no experience at all, alligators can be dangerous. “If a civilian comes across an alligator they need to be respectful of the animal, it is in its natural habitat and you are the stranger,” Sgt. Godowns advised, “Never feed or entice alligators with any type of food, leave the alligator alone, keep a safe distance and if the alligator is in an area it shouldn’t be or becomes a danger please contact DNR and we will relocate the alligator.”

Amye Stivender (201 Posts)