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Monday, December 6, 2010 - 11:35am

Alligator Hunting Changes Possible

State wildlife officials are coming up with their first comprehensive management plan for alligators.

The annual alligator hunt could grow in number.

Under the plan, the annual hunt could allow 850 alligators to be hunted, up from 700.

But in some areas, the hunt could be restricted, while in others, it's expanded.

David Mixon of the Natural Resources Department Game Management Division says, the idea is to tie hunt quotas in zones based on alligator population surveys.

"What that does is allow us to take the annual surveys that we do and relate it directly to the number of gators than can be taken from zones," Mixon says.

For example, that means more hunting could be available on the coast, where alligators live in abundance in the coastal marshes.

"At the same time, you get some of the big lakes, like Lake Seminole and over there. You see Lake Seminole consistently producing large gators. There are other areas that are pretty productive for gators, as well," Mixon says.

The goal is keep the animals at a healthy population, while still allowing for nuisance removals.

Georgia has about 200,000 alligators widely spread in southern Georgia.

The five-week hunting season runs from September to October.

The proposed changes in hunting regulations will go to a public comment period beginning in mid-December.

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