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Application period for Alligator Super Hunt permit opens today

A gator in Orange Lake on April 28.
(Lacey Rogers/WUFT News)
A gator in Orange Lake on April 28.

The Florida Wildlife Conservation has created a new special-opportunity hunt for alligator hunters.

The Alligator Super Hunt permit will allow hunters to take two alligators from most legally accessible alligator management units in Florida. The season will run from Aug. 15 to Dec. 31, according to theFWC website.

The application window opens Friday, May 3, through June 3. People interested can apply as many times as they like, but they must pay a $5 fee for each application.

Alligator super hunt permits will be awarded to applicants through a random drawing. The more applications a person submits the higher the chance of getting selected.

Once the winners are selected, they'll pay $272 if they're Florida residents or $1,022 if they are non-residents. Applicants who are awarded an alligator super hunt permit receive an alligator trapping license and permit and two CITES tags, according to the FWC website.

A gator rests on a log in Orange Lake on April 28, 2024.
(Lacey Rogers/WUFT News)
A gator rests on a log in Orange Lake on April 28, 2024.

John Patzman, 40, sells alligator hunting equipment for a living and is an avid gator hunter. He estimates somewhere between 23,000 and 25,000 people statewide will apply to enter the drawing for one of 7,000 permits.

Certain areas, like Central Florida, will sell out the fastest, he said.

Janot Vilardell, 42, owns Fowl Attitude Outfitters, a fishing charter in Crystal River. He also works at several hunting stores, including HNR Gunworks, Drake Waterfowl and Tanglefree Waterfowl Products. While he prefers to hunt ducks and other waterfowl, he is an expert in hunting.

“In a nutshell, the new permits are a money grab, in my opinion,” he said. “The fact that you can apply for a fee as many times as you’d like to increase your ‘chances’ is the first clue.”

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The super hunt will not replace the statewide alligator harvest program.

Robert Arrington, 48, makes a living from hunting. His YouTube hunting channel deermeatfordinner has more than 3.4 million subscribers.

He said he plans to apply for the super hunt permits because it will allow his out-of-state constituents to go hunting during the season.

The statewide alligator harvest permit gives the hunter a set period of days to go hunting between Aug. 15 and Nov. 8, while the super hunt permit does not limit the time during the season. This gives hunters more individual freedom over when they want to go hunting. But there is still a two-gator limit for each permit holder.

Arrington said his favorite gator-hunting memory is when he took his family out on a boat to catch a 12-foot and a 10-foot gator. His daughter, who was 5 at the time, helped pull the alligator into the boat.

“It’s so much more fun when everyone is involved and can be a part of it,” he said.

After catching a gator, Arrington uses every part of the animal. The meat is eaten, the skin is used as leather for furniture and the head is mounted. Patzman said many hunters sell the alligators they catch to production companies that sell meat to restaurants and grocery stores.

“Gator hunting is a fantastic and exhilarating experience that many Floridians enjoy,” Arrington said.

Gator bites at Eagles Nest Bar and Grill on April 28.
(Lacey Rogers/WUFT News)
Gator bites at Eagles Nest Bar and Grill on April 28.

Lacey is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.