NC's First Sanctioned Alligator Hunt Ends With One Kill

Oct 3, 2018

The approximately 20-year-old male alligator measured around 5-foot-7-inches but was missing a portion of its tail and probably had been closer to seven feet.

The gator was caught and killed on the second-to-last day of this inaugural season by a hunter in the Hyde County town of Swan Quarter.

Swan Quarter is one of three unincorporated municipalities to request the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission-issued hunting permits out of public concerns.

Under the alligator population-reduction hunting program, municipalities in 10 eastern counties may request permits. Three unincorporated towns in Hyde County--Swan Quarter, Engelhard, and Fairfield--were the only ones to do so this year. The hunting season started Sept. 1 and ended Monday.

The WRC awarded 20 permits by lottery this year, out of 1,800 applications.

WRC biologist Alicia Davis said hunters may only kill alligators that have been caught and restrained, typically using a heavy-duty fishing rod and test line with a treble hook to snag the reptile and pull it close enough to shoot.

"In most cases, a hunter will either use a firearm or a bang stick, and a bang stick is not actually considered a firearm," Davis said.

Davis said Hurricane Florence may have been one of the factors in the small number of alligators killed this hunting season.

She said the WRC would be surveying the permitted hunters to determine how successful the program was.