COLUMBIA — Get your bangsticks ready.
South Carolina is accepting applications for this year’s Alligator Lottery Hunt.
Starting this month, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources is collecting them for the 2013 Public Alligator Hunting season and the Wildlife Management Area Alligator Hunting Season. This year’s season runs from noon Sept. 14 until noon Oct. 12. The deadline to apply is June 15. Notifications go out in mid-July.
At least 100,000 alligators live from the state’s Midlands region to the coast. Last year, the state received 6,600 applications and awarded 1,200 permits. Hunters took 465 of the reptiles during the public hunting season; the average size was nearly 9 feet long.
The total cost required to hunt alligators is made up of an array of fees, with lottery winners charged a $500 fee if they’re state residents and $800 for all others, depending on where they are hunting. In addition to the required state hunting license, application and permit fees, all nonresident alligator hunters pay an additional $200, according to a DNR news release.
Selecting permit winners is based on a point system. People who applied before but weren’t chosen will gather points, which help their chances in later drawings. Points accumulate, as long as a hunter doesn’t miss a year of applying. If that happens, his or her bank of points reverts to zero.
Those who win the right to purchase a permit must follow detailed regulations. For instance, they’re not allowed to shoot a free-swimming or basking alligator.
According to DNR, alligators must be secured and pulled to shore or alongside a boat before dispatch. Rifles are not allowed, but handguns and bangsticks are permitted for dispatch. Bait, baited hooks, set hooks and pole hunting are prohibited. Only one alligator may be taken per permit, and it must be no smaller than 4 feet long. For more, go to www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/alligator/index.html.