Alligator hunting season is almost here - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Alligator hunting season is almost here

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

LAKE SEMINOLE, GA (WALB) –Alligator hunting season is approaching.

Registration is underway now, but only a limited number of applicants get the chance to legally hunt the gators.

Lake Seminole is known for its great fishing. But more than fish lurk in these waters.

"Every time we go fishing. They're everywhere," says Joey Sloan, the son of an alligator hunting guide.

He's talking about alligators. And so many gators live here that people from all across the country visit for the chance to catch one during the fall's alligator hunting season.

"I think they could double our permits and no one would notice the difference," says Mike Sloan, Wingate's alligator guide.

But the southwest Georgia region only gets a limited number of permits each year. Most people entering the quota lottery don't win until their third year. But if you have a friend lucky enough to snag a permit, all you need is a license to ride out with them to snag your own gator.

Alligator hunting is definitely a team sport requiring at least two people.

"It's a 3-4 man job," explains Sloan. "I've seen people that come with just a couple and said they would never do that again. It's a lot of work. The 12 1/2 foot we got last year we hooked at about 9 PM and came back at 3 in the morning. It took that long to fight him."

And much like fish, hunters tend to have better luck catching gators during certain times of the day.

"Most people want to go at night. I guess for the added fear factor," explains Sloan. "It's a little spooky at night when it looks like an airport runway with all the eyes looking at you. you want to keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times."

Hunters must be at least sixteen years old before they get in on the action.

"As soon as I'm old enough, we're gonna go," Joey says enthusiastically.

Catching one of these tremendous reptiles will earn bragging rights for a lifetime.

"The big one from last year, the two gentlemen who got that wanted to have it mounted," says Sloan. "I don't know where you'd put a 12-foot gator in your house, but I guess they did."

Because few things top a gator trophy in your living room.

Alligator season opens in September. To learn more, visit the Department of Natural Resources website here.

More details on alligators:

 

There are alligator farms that raise the reptiles commercially for their meat and skin. There's one in Camilla called Glass Enterprises.

The meat is high in protein, low in fat, and cholesterol free and is a million dollar industry.

The skin is mostly used for bags, shoes, and other luxury accessories. Alligator farms are found mostly in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana.

Those states combined produce 45,000 alligator hides every year.


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