Apply for gator permits in May!
By Tony Young
Apply for gator permits in May!
Happy and proud to report that my wife, Katie, and I enjoyed a great spring turkey season, both tagging out in Florida – me completing a Florida slam with an eastern and an Osceola, and Katie shooting two gobblers in one day (something I have never done!). But now that it’s May and turkey season is over, it’s time to start fishing and apply for alligator permits.
Alligator hunt permits
Have you ever wondered how cool it would be to harvest a 10-foot alligator? If you’ve never gator hunted before, to me, it’s a combination of hunting and fishing – and is yet another hunting tradition that Katie and I love and try to do together every year.
Since 1988, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has offered hunters the opportunity to take part in its annual recreational statewide alligator harvest that always runs Aug. 15–Nov. 1. But there are some changes this year to the application process that hunters need to know.
Phase I application period
The application period for the Phase I random drawing begins May 6 at 10 a.m. and runs through May 16. More than 5,000 alligator harvest permits will be available.
Hunters can submit their application for a permit that allows the harvest of two alligators on a designated harvest unit or county. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by Aug. 15 and have a valid credit or debit card.
Applications may be submitted at any county tax collector’s office, license agent (most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies) and at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, and applicants must provide their credit card information when they apply. This is a new change to the process from previous years. There is also a cancellation feature, which allows applicants to update their hunt choices or credit card information during the first three application phases.
Cost of alligator trapping license/harvest permit
Cost for the alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two hide validation CITES tags is $271.50 for Florida residents, $21.50 for those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, and $1,021.50 for nonresidents. The cost for applicants who already have an alligator trapping license is $61.50.
Subsequent application periods
Any permits remaining after the first phase will be offered during the Phase II random drawing May 20-30. Those who were awarded a permit in Phase I may not apply during Phase II. Remaining permits will be available in Phase III to anyone who did not draw a permit in either of the first two phases, and they may be applied for June 3-13.
If any permits remain after Phase III, there will be a fourth-phase issuance period beginning at 10 a.m. on June 17 until all permits are sold. Anyone may apply during Phase IV, even if they were awarded a permit in one of the earlier phases. Customers who are able to purchase additional permits will only be charged $61.50, regardless of residency or disability.
Additional changes to application process
Within three days of an application period closing, applicants can expect to see an authorization hold on their credit card verifying there is a sufficient balance to cover the cost of the permit, however, this does not mean they were awarded a permit. Once the credit card authorization process is complete, the lottery drawing will be held. All successful applicants will be charged, while those who were unsuccessful will have the authorization hold lifted from their credit cards.
Successful applicants should expect to receive their alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two CITES alligator tags in the mail within six weeks of payment. Alligator trapping licenses are nontransferable. All sales are final, and no refunds will be made.
For more information on alligator hunting or the application process, see the new “2016 Guide to Alligator Hunting in Florida” at MyFWC.com/Alligator.