The deadline to apply for applications for the 2013 Public Alligator Hunting season and the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Alligator Hunting Season is June 15. Applications are accepted at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html.
A $10 nonrefundable application fee is required to apply for the Public Lands Hunt and a $15 nonrefundable application fee is charged to apply for the WMA Alligator Hunt. A random computer drawing based on a preference-point system will determine the selection of hunters. Applicants can only apply and pay fees online or at one of the walk-up counters at a S.C. Department of Natural Resources office in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. No paper applications will be accepted. This year's season will begin at noon on Sept. 14 and run until noon on Oct. 12.
A total of 1,200 permits will be available for the public lands hunts, divided into four management units, with 300 permits allocated for each unit. Applicants can select the option to be considered for any number (or all) of the units, but the issued permit will only allow them to hunt in one unit per season.
If selected, a $100 fee for the permit and one harvest tag is required to be paid online through the same hunting application system. Unsuccessful applicants will accumulate preference points for future alligator hunt drawings. Preference points add to the likelihood of being drawn in future years. All hunters will be notified beginning in mid-July of their selection status.
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 (WMAs) and USFWS Wildlife Refuges. In addition, public alligator season permits cannot be used on lands enrolled in the Private Lands Alligator Program.
The WMA Alligator Hunt is a special draw hunt, in which the person selected will be permitted to take up to three assistants and have access to either portions of Bear Island WMA or Santee Coastal WMA for one hunt period (Monday at noon to Saturday at noon). There are four available hunt periods during the WMA alligator hunting season.
The cost for the WMA Alligator Hunting Permit, if successfully selected in the computerized drawing, is $500 for residents and $800 for nonresidents. There are two available permits for each hunt period on both Bear Island WMA and Santee Coastal WMA, for a total of four hunters (plus assistants) per week, and 16 total available permits per season. All hunters must have a hunting license and WMA permit.
In addition, there is the availability of a second WMA tag for an alligator from four to seven feet long. The second WMA tag may be used by anyone in the hunt party provided the person to whom the tag was originally issued is present. The cost for the second WMA tag is $75, in addition to all other fees and must be purchased at the same time as the first tag. The additional WMA tag is only valid during the chosen week for the selected WMA property.
While hunters selected for the WMA Alligator Hunt can only hunt on the designated WMA during their designated hunt period, the WMA alligator permit does allow the hunter to hunt alligators in the Alligator Management Unit in which the WMA is located. Thus, WMA permit holders for Santee Coastal Reserve can also hunt in the Middle Coastal Unit and the WMA permit holders for Bear Island can also hunt in the Southern Coastal Alligator Management Unit. However, the optional additional WMA tag for taking an alligator from 4-7 feet in length is only valid during the selected week (Monday to Saturday) and only on the selected WMA.
Please check the DNR website at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html for any changes and updates.