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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 11:34am

Alligator Hunting Increased

State wildlife officials are increasing the Georgia's alligator hunt.

The Department of Natural Resources has allowed alligator hunting since 2003.

Usually, the agency allows hunters to take 700 alligators.

But this year, that number will be 850.

Officials say, hunters aren't taking as many of the animals as they can.

DNR alligator biologist Greg Waters says, hunters take only about a third.

"Even though a four foot alligator is legal, many people have in mind that they want, say, an eight foot, a nine foot or a larger alligator," Waters says. "If they get out there and they get an opportunity to harvest a smaller alligator, they may not harvest that alligator because they want to harvest the longer one."

The alligator hunting season is in September and October.

About 6,000 hunters are expected to apply for the licenses.

"The success rate will probably not increase that much more," Waters says. "And so, we'll give more opportunity but not really harvest that many more alligators."

Waters says, reports of alligators migrating to North Georgia are not true.

Some are taken there by people and can live for years out of their range, causing problems.

However, no breeding populations have been found above the Fall Line, which runs from Columbus to Augusta.