Georgia is opening alligator hunting season for a limited number of hunters.
Through July 31, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is accepting applications to identify 1,000 hunters who will be granted permits to hunt gators between sunset Aug. 19 and sunrise Oct. 3, although there is no restriction on hunting hours.
“We fully expect to have 10,000 or more applications submitted for the 1,000 permits available,” said John Bowers, Chief of the DNR’s Game Management Section, in a news release. “Alligator hunting is quite the opportunity and I encourage all Georgia hunters to consider submitting an application for this amazing resource.”
To be eligible, hunters who are already licensed in Georgia also must have a valid alligator hunting license, which costs $50 for Georgia residents and $200 for out-of-state hunters.
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Applicants should not purchase the gator hunting license until they are approved.
Legal methods for catching a gator are limited to hand-held ropes or snares, snatch hooks, harpoons, gigs or arrows with a restraining line attached. The animals must be immediately killed with a handgun, bangstick or by severing the spinal cord.
Only one alligator can be captured and must be at least 48 inches in length from the end of the snout to the tip of the tail in most hunting zones except Lake Walter F. George, where gators musts be at least 96 inches long.
Permits will be granted for specific zones.
Georgia gators typically live south of the Fall Line, which stretches from Columbus to Macon and Augusta.
Last year, 325 alligators were harvested with an average length of 8 feet 6 inches.
The longest gator measured 14 feet 1 inch, according to the DNR news release.
Alligators were endangered by unregulated hunting in the early 1900s, which led them to be listed as endangered in 1967.
Populations increased due to conservation efforts and the protected status was downlisted in 1987, which allows greater flexibility in managing populations.
Applications can be filed at www.gohuntgeorgia.com/hunting/quota, but hunters should not purchase an alligator license until a permit is secured.
For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.org/Hunting/Alligator.