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Statewide Alligator Harvest Program

alligator above the water

New Rules for Statewide Alligator Hunt

Starting this year, alligator hunting hours have increased to 24 hours a day on most areas. 

  • Hunting hours begin at midnight on the first day of each harvest period and end at 11:59 p.m. on the last day of each harvest period.
  • However, hunting hours at the STAs and A1-FEB are 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. each day during the harvest period
    except as otherwise provided in the harvest permit.

Another change for 2022 is the addition of pre-charged pneumatic air guns firing an arrow (airbows) as a new method of take. Projectiles fired from airbows must be attached to restraining lines.

Learn about the new rules

About the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program

Since 1988, Florida's statewide alligator harvest has been nationally and internationally recognized as a model program for the sustainable use of a natural resource. Each year, alligator management units are established with appropriate harvest quotas to provide recreational opportunities for Floridians and non-residents who are at least 18 years old to take up to 2 alligators per permit. Applicants who are awarded a permit must pay for two CITES tags and an Alligator Trapping License, or provide proof of possession of an Alligator Trapping License valid through the end of the alligator harvest season. A Florida hunting license is not required to participate in the statewide alligator hunt.

Florida Alligator Hunting Survey Reports

Information for Countywide Alligator Harvest Permit Holders

Countywide alligator harvest unit information what is a "countywide alligator harvest unit?" It is important to note that countywide alligator harvest units are DIFFERENT from the Commission's traditional alligator harvest units on public waters and wetlands. Most Florida counties are established as alligator harvest units. Individuals permitted to take alligators in the countywide harvest units will be allowed to take two alligators from any area they could legally access in the specified county, including public and private lands and waters, but excluding specific water bodies established as AMUs, private wetlands permitted for alligator management, and other protected public properties (exclusions are detailed below). Application and permit issuance procedures and participation requirements for the countywide harvest units are the same as for other harvest units.

Who can participate? Any person at least 18 years old by Aug. 15 of the application year and who has not been convicted of violating 379.3015 or 379.409, Florida Statutes, or any Commission rules relating to the illegal taking of any crocodilian species for a period of five (5) years, or for ten (10) years if such a conviction involved the taking of an endangered crocodilian.

What fees are required to apply for a permit? The fees for countywide harvest units are the same as for the traditional harvest units.

Where can I harvest alligators in my county? It is strongly recommended that you know specific locations where you can legally harvest alligators in a county prior to applying for a countywide permit. If you receive a countywide alligator harvest permit, you can hunt on any area that you can legally access in the specified county. Harvesting is prohibited in the following areas: in privately-owned waters and wetlands, except where access has been granted by landowners; in water management district-owned (WMD) waters and wetlands, except as designated or where access has been granted by the WMD; in federally-owned lands, wildlife refuges, and parks, except where access has been granted by the managing federal agency; in state-owned parks, preserves, reserves, and wilderness areas, except aquatic preserves that may be designated; in Indian reservations and lands leased to Indian tribes, except as designated or where access has been granted by the landowners; in wildlife management, wildlife environmental, and public small-game hunting areas, except as designated; in incorporated cities and municipalities; in publicly owned waters closed for scientific study or protection of alligator populations; in privately-owned waters and wetlands included management programs governed by Rule 68A-25.032, F.A.C.; and in other Alligator Management Units established the respective counties.

We have an online alligator harvest data search feature where you can see where alligators have been taken in past years in different counties.

Can I hunt on a wildlife management area? Some countywide alligator harvest units allow alligators to be taken on specific WMAs. WMAs where you can hunt can be found in the specific harvest unit description. You should review the appropriate WMA brochure for access restrictions.

The county I want to hunt has a river as a county boundary. Can I hunt in that river? In many instances, county boundaries follow the center line of a river. For counties that have a river or other waterbody as a boundary, the countywide alligator harvest permit allows trappers to hunt both sides of the river immediately adjacent to the permitted county.

How many alligators can you take? Each permittee will be allowed to take two (2) non-hatchling alligators.

Can I cross through a different harvest area to a place where I can legally hunt? If you must travel through an area where you not permitted to hunt alligators, then you should stow away or take down all alligator harvest equipment. For example, harpoon points should be removed from the harpoon pole and stowed away; snatch hooks should be removed from fishing poles and put away, etc. Also, you should not search for alligators when traveling through an area for which you are not permitted; travel in a straight line to your destination, and, if traveling at night, do not “sweep” your spotlight from side to side as it may appear that you are searching for alligators.

When will the licensed trapper be able to hunt alligators? Each trapper will be assigned to one of four periods based on availability and on the order of preference that they indicated on their application. The harvest permit will specify the harvest period. Harvest periods are:

  • Period 1: Aug. 15 - Aug. 21
  • Period 2: Aug. 22 - Aug. 28
  • Period 3: Aug. 29 - Sept. 4
  • Period 4: Sept. 5 - Sept. 11

Participants who don’t harvest both of their alligators during their assigned harvest week, may hunt during the open period, which runs Sept. 12 - Nov. 1.

Alligators may be hunted 24 hours a day on most areas. On the STAs and A-1 FEB, hunting hours for alligators are between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. the next morning except as otherwise provided in the harvest permit. Please note STA harvest units and A-1 FEB are weekend only hunts.

What methods can you use to take alligators? Alligators may be taken only by the use of artificial lures or baited, wooden pegs less than two (2) inches in length attached to a hand-held restraining line and hand-held snares, harpoons, gigs, snatch hooks, and manually operated spears, spearguns, crossbows, pre-charged pneumatic airbows and bows with projectiles attached to a restraining line. The use of baited hooks, gig-equipped bang sticks, or firearms for taking alligators is prohibited except that bang sticks are permitted for taking alligators attached to a restraining line.

Can the permitted countywide trapper give his permit and cites tags to someone else so that they can hunt alligators? No. Only the permitted trapper may possess the unused CITES tags issued to that trapper, but alligator trapping agents may take alligators in the presence of the permitted trapper.

Can I use a countywide permit to take alligators on private property? Yes, but only if you have been granted permission by the landowner to take alligators on their property, and if the property is not enrolled in the private lands alligator management program under Rule 68A-25.032, F.A.C.

Can I use an airboat or large outboard in a countywide unit? Boat restrictions are regulated by local or regional government authorities. Contact the appropriate city, county, or water management district in the county where you are permitted and ask about the specific area that you would like to hunt.

Can I receive a refund for my fees if I am permitted but cannot participate in the hunt? Licenses cannot be canceled or any fee refunded after the license is issued except in the case of the subsequent death of the license holder, his or her spouse, parent, brother, sister, son or daughter supported by a copy of the respective death certificate; incapacitating illness or injury of the license holder supported by a physician's sworn statement; military transfer overseas supported by a copy of the official orders from the Armed Forces of the U.S. Refunds will not be granted for alligator trapping licenses or tag fees after the beginning of the harvest period specified on the permit. Refunds will not be granted for agent’s licenses after Aug. 15.

How can I contact the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program? For additional information, call 850-488-3831.

Alligator Harvest Data Search

Many records contain the location of harvest, so you can search for bodies of water that have been hunted under a county-wide permit in past years using the Statewide Alligator Harvest Data Search tool.

Florida DOT County Maps

Florida Department of Transportation's color maps show incorporated areas and are a valuable resource for people with a county-wide alligator harvest permit.

USGS Topo Maps

These USGS topographic maps are free to download by clicking on the "Map Locator Tool."

Information About Specific Alligator Harvest Units

Alligator Harvest Training and Orientation Video

Take the FREE Alligator Harvest Training and Orientation video course to learn about rules and regulations, equipment and methods, safety, processing tips, and more.

Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

FWC Alligator Research Publications