The Wildlife Resources Commission of North Carolina has decided to allow alligator hunting in Hyde County this fall, starting on September 1, 2018, reports The Wall Street Journal. American alligators are an animal which is rarely hunted in the state. According to the Assistant County Manager, Kris Noble, an influx and overpopulation of alligators in the county has become a problem for residents in the past five years, ultimately leading to this decision to open up a hunting season on the alligators.
Demand for hunting alligators is very high, despite the hefty in-state hunting permit cost. In-state permit holders can expect to pay $250 USD, and out-of-state hunters will have a permit fee that doubles in amount, at $500 USD. More than 400 people have applied for the 20 permits, says a conservation biologist at the Wildlife Resources Commission, Alicia Davis, cites The Wall Street Journal.
Hyde County claims that this will be a month long, controlled hunt, which is specifically intended to decrease the alligator population. Three regions will be targeted, as they have been the areas with the most “frequent alligator conflicts.”
According to Noble, this alligator issue in Hyde County has gotten so out of hand that residents will not even swim at local ponds. Noble has even stopped bringing her dog along on fishing trips to the Inner Banks. The county is located in North Carolina’s coastal plain and is the states largest total land area, but only second to least populous. No municipalities exist in Hyde County and the area has less than 6,000 residents, according to the most recently national census, taken by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010.
Noble told reporters more about how the lack of a municipality effects this alligator hunting decision.
“A lot of municipalities must deal with downtown traffic and parking, but we deal with resource management and animal control. It is pretty obvious to anyone that lives and works here that the alligator…interactions are on the rise.”
Biologist Alicia Davis remarked that the state has not taken a large study of its alligator population since the 1970s, meaning that Hyde County cannot prove having more alligator related complaints actually means there are in fact more alligators living in the area. She also added that no people have reported an injury related to alligators.
“We’ve been seeing an increase in the number of calls we get from the public. At least some of that is attributed to development and human population growth.”
Resident Chase Luker, who works for Dare to Hyde, a company which specialize in outdoor adventures, told journalists that these alligators in Hyde County have found their way into the county’s drainage pumps, which are an important part of flood prevention. He says the alligators are also residing in canals as narrow as six or eight feet.
The Americanalligator has been classified by the U.S. Department of the Interior as a threatened species since 1987. The Wall Street Journal points out that fewer than 10 states all together offer annual hunting season for the alligator, and when hunting is offered, the hunt is closely monitored for how many animals are killed in the region where the hunting takes place.