The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will soon be accepting applications for a chance to participate in its annual recreational alligator hunting season Aug. 15 through Nov. 1. Alligator management units are statewide and include Okaloosa, Escambia, Walton, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.

The application period for the Phase I random drawing begins 10 a.m. May 6 and runs through May 16. More than 5,000 alligator harvest permits, with choices of 20 hunt areas and periods, will be available.

A permit allows the harvest of two alligators on a designated harvest unit or in a county. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by Aug. 15 and have a valid credit or debit card.

Changes to the application process

Applications may be submitted at any county tax collector’s office, license agent (most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies) and at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. Applicants must provide their credit card information when they apply. This is a change to the process from previous years. There is also a cancellation feature, which allows applicants to update their hunt choices or credit card information.

Within three days of an application period closing, applicants should see an authorization on their credit card verifying there is a sufficient balance to cover the cost of the permit, however, this does not mean they were awarded a permit. Once the credit card authorization process is complete, the lottery drawing will be held. All successful applicants will be charged, while those who were unsuccessful will have the authorizations removed from their credit cards.

Pricing and permit phases

Cost for the alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two hide validation CITES tags is $271.50 for Florida residents, $21.50 for those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, and $1,021.50 for nonresidents. The cost for applicants who already have an alligator trapping license is $61.50.

Any permits remaining after the first phase will be offered during the Phase II random drawing. Applications for Phase II can be submitted May 20-30. Those who were awarded a permit in Phase I may not apply during Phase II.

Remaining permits will be available in Phase III to anyone who did not draw a permit in either of the first two phases, and they may be applied for June 3-13.

If any permits remain after Phase III, there will be a fourth-phase issuance period from 10 a.m. June 17 until all permits are sold. Anyone may apply during Phase IV, even if they were awarded a permit in one of the earlier phases, but there is a maximum of 10 permits allowed per person.

Customers who are able to purchase additional permits will only be charged $61.50, regardless of residency or disability.

Successful applicants can expect to receive their alligator trapping license/harvest permit and two CITES alligator tags in the mail within six weeks of payment.

Free FWC training and orientation sessions for participants to learn hunt rules and regulations are planned in July and August. Participants are not required to attend, but first-time alligator hunters are strongly encouraged to go.

Trapping agent licenses

Alligator trapping “agent” licenses can also be purchased for $51.50, regardless of residency. This license allows one to participate in a hunt, while assisting and being in the presence of someone who has an alligator trapping license/harvest permit.

Youths age 15 and younger are exempt from having to have an alligator trapping agent license. Those possessing a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License are exempt from the cost of an agent license, but must still have it to assist in hunting alligators.

Alligator trapping licenses are nontransferable.

All sales are final, and no refunds will be given. No other license is required to hunt alligators.

For more information on alligator hunting, go to MyFWC.com/Alligator.