North Carolina wildlife officials are talking about the possibility of recreational alligator hunting in North Carolina for the first time since 1973.
Allen Boynton, the commission’s wildlife diversity program coordinator, told the Jacksonville Daily News that an Alligator Task Force is seeking public input on what residents think of the idea of reviving a regional alligator hunting season.
Population control is the motivating factor, officials say.
“There’s a possibility of hunting, at least in the southeast corner of the state, in some form or fashion,” Boynton told the Daily News. “What we would recommend … is that we start where there’s the most alligators and the most alligator habitat. … Start it slow and go from there.”
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The commission could move to establish a season as soon as its 2017-18 rule-making process. A proposed hunting area is the strip from Brunswick to Carteret counties, where alligators are more common, the newspaper reported.
Alligators are rare in the Charlotte area, but have been spotted in local lakes. On Sunday, an alligator was spotted crossing a road near the town of Clover in York County, S.C. That’s just south of Charlotte.
“Based upon research already conducted in North Carolina, a prudent approach to recreational hunting would maintain sub-adult and adult alligators in a meta population, particularly females,” says the draft plan. “Should recreational hunting begin, NCWRC would closely (regulate) the number of hunting permits issued.”
Among the draft recommendations:
- Identify areas where alligators may be overpopulated and recommend strategies to address alligator management issues.
- Come up with metrics to establish the number of alligator-hunting permits per year that could be issued.
- Gather information on alligator population demography and historical changes in habitats.