The American Alligator is the largest reptile in North America, and it is estimated 1.25 million alligators call Florida home. Florida is renowned for its Alligator harvest program. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the program was instated during 1988. Since creation, the program has acted as a nationwide model for sustainable use of natural resources. Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission grants Alligator hunting permits to anyone who’s 18 years of age or older. Additionally, you must purchase 2 CITES tags for the capture of alligators. The Convention on International Trade of Wild Fauna and flora, referred to as CITES, is an agreement between the World’s governments that ensures trade of endangered species doesn’t threaten survival (Cites.org). An Alligator trapping license is also required. The Alligator trapping license is valid for the entire Alligator harvest season.
Once you received your alligator tags, you have to hunt in the designated zone for that permit. In South Florida, the Stormwater Treatment Area's (STA) is one of the most popular locations to hunt for alligators. The STA's are long canal systems, in which you would drive down the levy by truck and stop periodically to spot alligators at a distance. Once spotted, you approach on foot or by jon boat to cast a treble hook to snag the gator. Once the gator has been snagged, the fight is on. Another popular place to hunt alligators is Lake Okeechobee. Lake Okeechobee is one of the best places to hunt for alligators. It has a large population of gators due to its abundant food sources. In the lake, you are typically hunting from a boat, this is Capt. Patrick's favorite way to target alligators. When hunting from a boat, you can spot and approach large alligators you have spotted at a distance to get within casting range or you can place a bait and wait. You can also hunt alligators with bows, handlines, crossbows, and harpoons. Either way, the fight of an alligator is exhilarating as they thrash their powerful tail and try to escape with their death roll technique. Once you are ready to dispatch the animal, Florida Law requires the use of a bang-stick. A bang-stick is a wooden or metal shaft that has a powerhead mounted to the end. The use of a bang-stick on an alligator quickly subdues the animal, just make sure to wrap the jaws shut with tape before bringing it onboard.
Alligator skin is a versatile material, and once processed it can be made into shoes, boots, wallets, handbags, luggage, cases, hats, belts, and just about anything made from leather. Alligator leather is popular because of its unique texture and durability. Moreover, alligator meat is delicious to eat. Some say gator tastes like a mixture of chicken and fish. The most popular way to cook alligator meat is to make gator nuggets, but it can be grilled, smoked, and baked. If you are looking to profit from your catch, you can sell your alligator meat instead.
Gators +9ft: $1,600. 4-6 hour trip (sometimes they are 11ft)
Trophy Gators +10ft: $2,000. Plan on two 4-6 hour trips (sometimes it happens faster)
Processing: I will be happy to deliver your gator to a processor for you. The fees vary year to year, but below is a general rule of thumb.
Florida alligator season is open from August 15th through November 1st and is a limited quota entry. Swamp to Sea Guide Service will have limited tags, so spots fill up fast! We hunt from a new 25ft Skiff with plenty of space, accommodating up to a party of four. A guided alligator hunt with Swamp to SEA is a fair chase, public land hunt with big wild gators. Capt. Patrick has spent his life hunting Florida alligators and has a knack for finding giants. This hunt is safe for the whole family, and you will surely make memories that will last a lifetime.