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Alligator Hunting Classes Available

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On: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 3:20PM | By: Lee Clymer


We in Florida are much like Aussies in one aspect…there seems to be a large contingent of people who like hunting large reptiles capable of relative speed and considerable anger. The bigger the better. I am, of course, referring to our huge population of the rebounded ‘gator. With the population stable since the mid-eighties and growing, the FWC has, in the past couple of decades, issued permits for people to challenge death and attempt to bring home the timeless, almost mindless, but definitely not defenseless denizen of the swamp and some people’s back yards.

For those with this particular itch I deem as a death wish, our ever so cooperative officials at the FWC are offering free, yes free, three hour classes on how to better your odds at getting one of the last known dinosaurs. Actually, it covers more than the safety aspect, and delves into the hunt, proper techniques for getting them and processing, and believe it or not, even tells you how to take care of the hide.

I consider myself to be a relatively brave man, but I have seen their teeth. My idea of a good ‘gator involves barbeque sauce.

I do however, highly recommend those of you lighter on your feet than I, and with a flair for the dramatic to get out there and bring home the beef…uhh…’gator. I will be happy to share in your good fortune and listen to your tales of bravery, by the way.

I imagine it to be similar to sailing, which I do, which is described as hours of peaceful calm broken up by moments of sheer terror, but not having actually been in the same boat with an alligator, I am merely speaking from my imagination and nightmares. Having lived in Florida for most of my life, and having worked at the Space Center (a wildlife preserve) I have seen my share of the creatures.

The FWC has established harvest quotas, as they do with most animals, and at present there are about four thousand permits to be shared with residents and non-residents. They are provided on a first come-first served basis for the year long season.

If you get one of the permits, you get to take two. You must pay for the tags and an alligator trapping license.

The classes will, of course, cover all the ins and outs of the legalities, as well, but there are numerous guides throughout the
state who will get you out there in the middle of the night with a flashlight on an air boat. I bet they will provide a tasty recipe as well. If not, give me a call. I make my own barbeque sauce. If you aren’t a fan of barbeque sauce, I have a great key lime sauce, as well. If you have your own recipe, I like my ‘gator without the teeth.

You don’t have to go to one of the classes, but even if you are just simply curious, the classes are there, and they are statewide. Locations and dates are as follows:

July 25 (Sunday), 2-5 p.m., Sanford, Sanford Civic Center, 401 East Seminole Blvd. For directions call 407-302-1010 or visit www.sanfordfl.gov/departments/leisure_services/civic_center.html.

July 28 (Wednesday), 6-9 p.m., Tallahassee, Bryant Bldg., 2nd floor auditorium, 620 S. Meridian St. For directions, call 850-488-3831.

July 31 (Saturday), 1-4 p.m., Dania Beach, IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum, 300 Gulf Stream Way. For directions, call 954-922-4212 or visit www.igfa.org.

Aug. 4 (Wednesday), 6-9 p.m., Gainesville, Paramount Plaza Hotel and Suites, 2900 S.W. 13th St. For directions call 352-377-4000 or visit www.paramountplaza.com.

Aug. 7 (Saturday), 1-4 p.m., Bradenton, Bradenton Municipal Auditorium, 1005 Barcarrota Blvd. For directions, visit http://bradenton.govoffice.com/index.asp and click on "Public Facilities" in the left column menu.

Aug. 8 (Sunday), 2-5 p.m., Okeechobee, Okeechobee County Civic Center, 1750 U.S. Hwy 98 North. For directions call 863-462-5195.




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