It’s time to apply for S.C.’s 2019 gator season

It's time to apply for South Carolina's 2019 alligator hunting season.

Application period ends June 15

It’s time for gator hunters to get those gator hunting applications in to the SCDNR. The 2019 season will run from noon on Sept. 14 through noon on Oct. 12. The application period opened today, May 1, and will end at 5 p.m. on June 15. Residents and nonresidents are encouraged to apply.

Hunters killed 337 gators during South Carolin’as 2018 alligator hunting season. Of all the gators harvested, the average length was about nine feet. According to SCDNR estimates, more than 100,000 alligators live between the midlands and the coast of the Palmetto State.

Applicants can apply online or in person at one of the agency’s regional offices in Clemson, Florence, Columbia, or Charleston. When applying, applicants pay a $10 nonrefundable fee. The agency selects hunters through randomized computer drawing. A preference point system is in place, so even if you aren’t selected, you build points toward future alligator hunting seasons.

Hunters selected for tags can kill gators on public or private land, but not on WMAs or USFWS wildlife refuges.

SCDNR will notify selected hunters by mid-July

Selected hunters will pay a $100 fee for their harvest tag. The agency will notify those selected starting around July 15. This state uses this money for the research and management requirements, and for the conservation of alligators throughout the state.

Alligators must be at least four feet in length to be harvested. Hunters are not allowed to shoot unsecured gators. Hunters must first secure them with the proper equipment, brought boatside, then dispatched with a bangstick, gun, or knife.

For every alligator hunting party, only one member must have an alligator tag. All others must have a valid South Carolina hunting license.

The fees mentioned above are for South Carolina residents. Nonresident hunters may also apply, and if chosen, will pay an additional $200 nonresident fee. All nonresidents participating in any alligator hunting parties must pay that nonresident fee, even if they are not the tag holder.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1293 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.