Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The first alligator hunting season since 1973 opens in September

The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission approved a limited hunting season of the American alligator

Alligator hunting was legalized in North Carolina for the first time since 1965. (Port City Daily /FILE PHOTO)
Alligator hunting was approved in North Carolina for the first time since 1973. (Port City Daily /FILE PHOTO)

RALEIGH, N.C.—-For the first time since 1973, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has approved a limited alligator hunt in North Carolina.

With several provisions, the limited take is a historic one.

RELATED: Increased development leads to more human-alligator interactions

The Alligator Management Plan was introduced to combat increased human-alligator interactions, which have been on the rise particularly in southeastern North Carolina. In New Hanover County where development of its natural habitat is constant, the American Alligator has been on N.C. WRC’s radar this year.

One aspect of the Alligator Management Plan, a project introduced in October to mitigate increased gator sightings, was to allow a limited hunting season of one of earth’s oldest creatures.

Though the N.C. WRC received over 611 emails opposing the take of alligators, it approved a limited hunting season, from Sept. 1 through Oct. 1, during its meeting Thursday.

Only one gator is permitted per permittee, with specifications on how to kill the animal.

“Alligators could only be taken using hand-held ropes or catch poles; hand-held or rod/reel snatch hooks; harpoons or gigs with attached restraining lines; baited, wooden pegs less than 2-inches in length attached to hand-held restraining lines; archery equipment with arrow-attached restraining lines,” the new regulation states.

According to N.C. WRC’s Diversity Biologist Alicia Davis, no permits are being issued at this time.

Update: This article has been updated to include a comment from Alicia Davis.

Johanna Ferebee can be reached at or @j__ferebee on Twitter

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