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Can You Hunt Alligators in Florida? What You Need to Know!

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hunter using bow

Alligators are the most well-known animals in Florida, despite the state animal being the panther. Once endangered, alligators had a huge population boom in the late ‘80s that made them somewhat of a nuisance. In the Sunshine State, you can even hunt these deadly predators during a certain time of year. From August 15th to November 1st is alligator hunting season where permitted hunters can legally hunt gators. Let’s check out some more info about how hunting alligators in Florida works. 

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What Are the Requirements to Hunt Alligators in Florida?

As with most hunting, alligator hunting in Florida isn’t just a free-for-all. You must apply for an alligator trapping permit, which allows you to hunt two alligators per permit. Historically, the state of Florida only issues about 5,000 of these per year, but recent booms in alligator populations have caused them to increase permits to over 7,000 for the 2022 season.

It’s free to enter the drawing, but you must input a credit card that will automatically be charged for the permit if you receive one. For Florida residents, the price for one alligator trapping permit and two hide validation tags is $272. For out-of-state residents, the cost is much higher at $1,022 per permit.

There’s also an alligator trapping agent license that allows you to assist a permitted hunter with hunting alligators. There’s no fee for this license if you have a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License card, or for minors under 16 years old.

Applications normally open several months before the season starts, and anyone who applies must be at least 18 years old by August 15th. Your permit and tags will be mailed to you by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) within 6 weeks of the drawing outcome.

man use stamper on documents
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

When Can I Hunt Alligators in Florida?

Normally, alligator hunting is limited to the hours between 5:00 pm and 10:00 am, but as of 2022, you may hunt alligators 24 hours a day. Previously, the restriction on daylight hunting was to protect tourists in areas like the Everglades from stray projectiles.

Alligators are normally most active at night, but daylight hunting has its benefits, too. Hunting during the day is helpful for people learning how boats work or those teaching minors how things work. Also, you don’t have to worry about hooking an alligator right before the deadline and not having time to land it.

alligator in the grass
Image Credit: Piqsels

What Can I Use to Hunt Alligators in Florida?

Hunting alligators is a bit different than hunting deer or other game. For one, no firearms of any kind are allowed when taking part in the statewide alligator hunting program. Other methods are widely available and used by hunters every year, though. Let’s check out a few other alligator hunting methods below.

Legal Alligator Hunting Equipment includes:
  • Bows
  • Crossbows
  • Pre-charged pneumatic air bows (as of 2022)
  • Spears and spearguns
  • Harpoons
  • Gigs
a bow hunter
Image Credit: Neil-Podoll, Shutterstock

You can only use certain types of fishing gear, too. Let’s check out what baits and hooks are legal to use in Florida alligator hunts.

Legal Fishing Gear includes:
  • Weighted treble hooks
  • Artificial lures
  • Snatch hooks (for catch & release only)
  • Catch poles
  • Baited wooden pegs less than 2 inches long

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Alligator hunting is completely legal for Florida or out-of-state residents who apply for and receive a permit, but only between August 15th and November 1st. As long as you have the right gear, you can bag two alligators per permit. Minors don’t need permits and may accompany permitted hunters during hunts.

Featured Image Credit: muroPhotographer, Shutterstock

About the Author Codee Chessher

Codee Chessher is a freelance writer with extensive knowledge on a variety of subjects that include travel, sound engineering, automotive, optics, DIY, pets, and more. He has a colorful past that includes building schools and commercial driving, but the written word was always his first love and continues to be his passion. He believes there's nothing a well-worded sentence can't accomplish.