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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeUncategorizedI've got gators on my mind

I’ve got gators on my mind

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It’s that time of year again that all of us Gator hunters have been submitting our permit applications to the Florida Wildlife Commission.  Thus far I’ve been shut out on the drawings, but expect I’ll be able o purchase a few leftover permits up in the Panhandle region.  But down here locally, obtaining a permit is a fairly difficult feat.

As big as Hernando County is, with as many alligators as can be found around here, the state has limited the permit availability to just four permits.  Now, each permit issued by the Florida Wildlife Commission for the State Alligator Harvest Program comes with two CITES tags for the harvest and possession of two alligators, bringing the total of them big swamp lizards available for harvest to only eight.  That kind of leaves me scratching my head in wonder as I spend a huge part of my time in the woods and on the water and it seems that I see gators nearly everywhere I go.  

Only recently, I spent some time fishing on the bank of the Withlacoochee River, in Croom by the old Iron Bridge and in three hours of fishing I counted six gators cruising lazily by in the water.  

Four of those gators were good eating sized critters, between six and eight feet while two of them would measure out well in excess of nine feet in length. And to see some really big swamp lizards, a short boat ride South toward Silver Lake, can just about ensure an encounter or two with some in the eleven and twelve foot range.

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So, why is it that there are so few tags available?  A couple of phone calls to the FWC haven’t revealed much.  I’m still awaiting a call back from the regional biologist as I write this.  But, I hope to have an answer before too long, which I’ll happily update you with next week.  Now North of the county line, there are forty-five permits available; that’s ninety gators up for harvest. Curious, right?

Now, for anybody else interested in obtaining gator permits, as of the last stats there are a number of permits available up north in Gulf and Hamilton Counties and a few other places throughout the northern part of the state.  

I happen to know that there are quite a few gators up in those areas, mostly in the lakes and backwater sloughs off of the rivers, but it’s a pretty good drive to get to them.  

I may get lucky and draw closer, Baker, Duval and Alachua had a small number of permits available when I entered the second phase of the statewide drawing, so my fingers are crossed.  

Now, if you haven’t hunted alligators in Florid, we do it a bit differently than they show on the popular TV shows depicting alligator hunting.  No baited hooks n lines and no firearms.  We can snag them in open water, I prefer a surf rod with a snatch hook, then wrestling the big lizard alongside the boat for a pop on the noggin with a bang stick, or hatchet behind the head, either way is quite effective at inviting him into the boat for an honored spot amongst your dinner entrees.  

And as always, if you have any feedback, suggestions or even just want to share a good hunting story, give me a shout at [email protected].  

God bless and good hunting! 

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