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It may soon be open season on Florida alligators 24/7

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be considering a new hunting proposal for alligators next month.
Credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File
FILE PHOTO: In this Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 file photo, an alligator rests in Everglades National Park, near Flamingo, Fla.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Commissioners with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will soon be considering a proposal to allow alligator hunting 24/7 in certain areas.

Currently, hunters only have 17 hours a day – from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. – to harvest alligators. But, a staff report going before commissioners on March 2 is looking to push that to 24. 

The reason for the extended hours, FWC says, is to allow "those with an alligator trapping license/alligator harvest permit seven more hours a day of hunting opportunity and greater flexibility to schedule hunts."

Florida's alligator harvest first started in 1988. At the time, FWC says the hunt was a commercial opportunity with a limited number of participants. Because of the strong interest in the program, participation was expanded and the mission was refocused to maintaining alligator populations within 25 percent of their 1988 level, according to FWC. 

Since then, hours have only expanded in order to control the state's roughly 1.3 million gators. Hunting season runs from Aug. 15 to Nov. 1.

If commissioners approve the proposal, it would not be made final until the May meeting.

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