243 gators killed during S.C.’s 2020 season

gators

Hunters killed three 13+ foot gators this season

Hunters killed almost 100 fewer gators during South Carolina’s 2020 alligator hunting season than they did during the 2019 season. Jay Butfiloski, SCDNR’s alligator program coordinator, said the decline is probably for multiple reasons.

Of the 1000 applicants SCDNR drew through the alligator lottery system, 868 people followed through with purchasing their tags. That number was up by 34 over 2019’s 834 licensed gator hunters. But those hunters accounted for 243 gators in 2020, which was about 100 fewer than in 2019.

Butfiloski said the SCDNR did receive word from several hunters that COVID-19 prevented them from hunting — or at least from hunting as often as they’d originally planned. But he said the weather was also likely a big factor.

Hunters from 47 states applied for gator tags

“I know there was some cooler weather late. And I believe some rain and other not-great weather for being out on the water,” Butfiloski said. “So sometimes that obviously affects people going.

“It was definitely a strange year all around, as everybody can attest,” he added.

One thing that didn’t change — some very large gators gave up the ghost to hunters this season. Hunters checked in three 13+ footers. That included one Santee gator that measured 13 feet, 10 inches.

Another thing that didn’t change was the popularity of the lottery system that hunters use to apply for a gator tag. Butfiloski said 7172 people from 47 states applied for a tag leading up to the season, which runs annually from the second Saturday in September to the second Saturday in October.

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