COLUMBIA -- Beginning May 1, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources will be accepting online applications for the 2017 Public Alligator Hunting season and the 2017 Wildlife Management Area Alligator Hunting Season at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html.

It is estimated that more than 100,000 alligators live from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina and the population is not threatened by the regulated removal of a relatively small number of alligators. Last year, hunters took 394 alligators during the public alligator hunting season, with the average size being nearly nine feet in length.

Applicants can only apply and pay fees online or at one of the walk-up counters at a DNR Regional Office in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. No paper applications will be accepted. This year’s season will begin at noon Sept. 9 and run until noon Oct. 14. The deadline to apply is June 15.

Hunters participating in the Public Alligator Hunting Season may take alligators in public waters and on private land where permission is granted, but alligator hunting is prohibited on Wildlife Management Areas and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Refuges. In addition, public alligator season permits cannot be used on lands enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program.

By law, fees collected are used to support the Alligator Management Program's research and management activities, and for conservation of the American Alligator in South Carolina.

Only alligators four feet or greater in length may be taken and the hunter must tag the animal immediately with a harvest tag provided by the SCDNR for any of the alligator hunting programs. This hunting season does not allow the shooting of unsecured alligators, even on private land.

In addition to the required state hunting license, application, and permit fees, all nonresident alligator hunters are required to pay an added nonresident alligator hunting fee of $200 before going afield. This fee is valid for participation in any of the alligator hunting programs. The nonresident alligator hunting fee is also required for any nonresident alligator hunting assistants 16 years of age or older.

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