Hunters have one more week to apply for a tag for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ 2014 public alligator season and WMA season. The deadline is June 15. Applications are accepted at www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html.
A nonrefundable $10 application fee is required to apply for the general hunt, and a $15 nonrefundable application fee is charged to apply for the WMA hunt. A 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 SCDNR Regional Office in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. No paper applications will be accepted. This year's season will begin at noon on Sept. 13 and run until noon on Oct. 11.
If selected, a $100 fee for the permit and one harvest tag is required to be paid online through the same online alligator 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 general hunt may take alligators in public waters and on private land where permission is granted, but alligator hunting is prohibited on WMAs and USFWS Wildlife Refuges. In addition, general 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, WMA permit, and if a nonresident, pay the nonresident alligator hunting fee. In addition, there is the availability of a second WMA tag for an alligator from 4 to 7 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.
By law, the fees collected are used to support SCDNR’s Alligator Management Program's research and management activities, and for conservation of the American Alligator in South Carolina.
Alligators must be at least four feet long to be taken, and the hunter must tag the animal immediately with a harvest tag provided by SCDNR for any of the alligator hunting programs. This hunting season does not allow the shooting of unsecured alligators, even on private land. All alligators must be secured using approved equipment and brought boat-side or onto land before they can be dispatched. While others may assist the permitted hunter, all participants must possess a valid South Carolina hunting license. All selected hunters and participants in the WMA Alligator Hunts must also possess a Wildlife Management Area permit.