Thursday, April 21, 2011

Florida Alligator Hunting Areas Expanded

More Everglades Areas Open To Alligator Hunting

CLEWISTON, FL. -- The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board is expanding an alligator hunting program in Everglades water-cleansing wetlands, further supporting recreational opportunities on public land.

"Hunting is a favorite South Florida recreational activity, and fortunately it is compatible with our Stormwater Treatment Areas' primary function to improve Everglades water quality," said Tommy Strowd, SFWMD Deputy Executive Director of Operations and Maintenance. "With the treatment areas covering more than 52,000 acres, we continually search for ways to provide public access on District-managed land when it does not impact restoration objectives."

Alligator hunting will now be allowed in Stormwater Treatment Area 2 (STA-2), located in southern Palm Beach County. The hunts will be managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), which has coordinated with the District since 2006 to host hunts in the District's other Everglades STAs.

Similar to the alligator hunts that occur in STAs 1 West, 3/4 and 5 in Palm Beach and Hendry counties, regulations and procedures will be implemented in STA-2 to ensure the security of the District's facilities and the proper administration of the hunt program.

Permits specific to STA-2 will be issued by the FWC as part of the agency's Statewide Alligator Harvest Program. The number of permits issued and the dates and times of the hunts will be determined by the FWC in consultation with District staff. The use of motorized vehicles, including boats, airboats and all-terrain vehicles, will be prohibited. FWC law enforcement officers will be on-site providing hunt area access and management oversight.

STA-2 will also be used to host youth alligator hunts managed by FWC through the Youth Hunting Program of Florida.

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