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Florida is the alligator hunting capital of the world!

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The FWC is offering a great opportunity to take part in its annual statewide alligator harvest. Since 1988, Florida has offered alligator hunts, which provide a thrilling, hands-on adventure unlike any other outdoor experience.

The alligator hunting season runs from Aug. 15 – Nov. 1, 2011. More than 6,000 alligator harvest permits will be available. Each permit allows the take of two alligators.

Phase I: Applications will be accepted from 10 a.m. (all time is Eastern) on May 4 through midnight May 17, 2011. Only one application may be submitted per person. Permits will be awarded by random drawing, and payments may be made by selected applicants after the award date through midnight on June 6. If the selected applicant does not purchase their permit by the deadline, that permit will be offered in Phase II. Applicants are limited to one permit.

Phase II: Any permits remaining after Phase I will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. on June 8 through midnight June 13, 2011. Persons that purchased a permit in Phase I may not apply. Applicants are limited to one permit.

Phase III: Any permits remaining after Phase II will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. on June 15 until September 12, 2011 or the permits are sold out. Anyone can apply, and persons that purchased a permit in Phase I or II may apply for additional permits.

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All applications must be submitted and fee payments made at any county tax collector's office, license agent (retail outlet that sells hunting and fishing licenses), or at www.fl.wildlifelicense.com.

There is no cost to apply for a permit, but each person awarded a permit must pay for an alligator trapping license and hide validation tags totaling $271.50 for residents and $1,021.50 for nonresidents. The cost for each additional permit, if awarded, is $61.50 regardless of residency. All persons seeking a harvest permit must be at least 18 years of age by Aug. 15, 2011. All sales are final; no refunds will be provided for any reason.

No other hunting licenses or permits are required. After payment is made, the permit and tags will be mailed to the applicant within four to five weeks.

Any hunter who takes an alligator must submit an alligator harvest report. The information gathered from these reports helps the FWC monitor population trends and impacts of the annual harvest. Unused alligator tags must be returned to the FWC. Failure to comply with this important requirement may result in denial of future participation and possibly criminal misdemeanor charges and fines.

An alligator trapping agent license also is available for $51.50, which allows the license holder to assist a permitted trapper take alligators.

The FWC offers no-cost, three-hour alligator harvest training and orientation classes during July and August at locations throughout the state. Permit recipients are not required to attend, but first-time participants are strongly encouraged to do so. Permit holders will receive, by mail, a manual that lists the dates and locations. This list will also be at MyFWC.com/Alligator.

To learn more details about these exciting alligator hunts, visit MyFWC.com/Alligator and click on "Statewide Alligator Harvest Program."

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