(NSF) — Alligators in Florida will be targeted around-the-clock when the next hunting season begins in August. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recently approved a final rule change that will extend what had largely been nighttime hunting — between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. — to 24 hours during the season.
Supporters say the change will help hunters better schedule trips and potentially allow more young and senior hunters to participate, as they might be more comfortable hunting during the day.
FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto says the hunt is a sign that efforts to protect alligators in Florida have been working.
“The American alligator in Florida, like the manatees, has been a huge success story. It really has. As a conservation commission, our mission is not complete, but it’s working.”
The commission had received comments from more than 7,000 people through workshops, webinars and surveys that mostly supported the changes. However, concerns were raised, in part, that the 24-hour proposal would conflict with other outdoor activities, such as bass fishing and duck hunting, and about a potential for meat spoiling from alligators harvested during the hottest part of the day.
Florida has an estimated 1.3 million alligators, and the annual hunt, which runs from August 15th to November 1st, results in about 7,500 alligators killed.
The state each year issues about 7,500 permits, with 40 to 50 percent of permit holders reaching a two-gator limit.
About 7,500 more alligators a year are killed in nuisance situations.
(From The News Service of Florida)