Whether they terrify or intrigue you, the reaction of many towards alligators is to stay away. That’s not the case for everyone, though. Some people like to hunt the formidable reptiles, and the time to do it is quickly approaching, the Post and Courier reports.
Alligator hunting season begins next Saturday, Sept. 9, and will last a little more than a month, closing on Oct. 14, according to the Post and Courier.
South Carolina has issued a thousand permits to trap and kill gators throughout zones along the coast and in the midlands, reports the Post and Courier. They have also issued an additional 16 permits to hunt on Wildlife Management Areas.
There are an estimated 100,000 gators in the Palmetto State according to the Post and Courier. They have a potential life span of 60 years, can grow to 13 feet long, weigh hundreds of pounds and have powerful jaws. A lot of those characteristics form a combination that frightens many away.
Most years, according to the Post and Courier, fewer than 500 alligators are taken.
Despite all the intimidating aspects to alligators, an average of five to six thousand people now apply for permits and tags each year, per the Post and Courier. With only a thousand permits given out, not everyone can be a winner.
The number has varied over the years, according to the Post and Courier, but tends to track with the popularity of gator hunting television shows according to some in the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Another factor influencing people might be the cost. Permits can run from $110 to $350.
With a thousand permitted hunters and less than 500 gators caught most years, that can be a lot of money to pay for less than a 50 percent chance of success, the Post and Courier reports. A lot of people gladly do, though, and they’re enthusiastic about their chances this year.
The heavy rains throughout South Carolina this year are looked on as being favorable to the gator population, helping to grow their numbers and maintain their habitats, and moving odds in the favor of hunters according to the Post and Courier.
Most applicants each year come from within the state, the Post and Courier reports, with roughly 10 percent applying from outside of it.