Williamsburg County Environmental Control Lt. Vincent McCrea ended up with an unusual load after he and Williamsburg County Sheriff's deputies discovered the nine-foot reptile near Salters. Photo by Michaele Duke
On Tuesday morning, May 22, Williamsburg County Environmental Control Lt. Vincent McCrea along with Williamsburg County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Highway 377 near Salters after receiving a 911 call that an alligator was on the side of the road. They found the gator in a shallow ditch beside the highway, approximately 500 yards from Cooper's Country Store.
The nine-and-a-half foot gator had been shot in the head and was expired. Law enforcement loaded the reptile into a truck and will deliver it to the Department of Natural Resources. McCrea believes the gator may have been the victim of poachers. That's a low lying area and a good ways away from any type of large body of water," said McCrea. "That’s why we assume someone shot him and dropped him off there."
In order to harvest an alligator, hunters must apply for the South Carolina’s Public Alligator Harvest Program. This is done electronically over the Internet (www.dnr.sc.gov) from May 1 until 11:59 p.m. on June 15. There is a $10 nonrefundable application fee to apply.
The Public Alligator Harvest Program allows anyone to participate in the alligator harvest. Successful applicants must purchase the $100 Alligator Hunting Permit, possess a valid SC hunting license and possess a WMA permit for those selected for the special WMA hunts. In addition to the Public Alligator Harvest Program, the DNR offers several other alligator management programs.
In 1989, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) initiated a problem alligator program that allows contracted agent trappers to capture and harvest specific problem alligators greater than four foot in length. According to the SCDNR, alligator populations reached their lowest levels in the early 1960s due to several factors. However, management and conservation actions by state and federal governments as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) allowed the alligator population to increase. They were removed from “total protection” status under the ESA in 1987. The alligator is now listed as “threatened by similarity of appearance” because of its likeness to other protected crocodilians worldwide. This provides greater flexibility for South Carolina and other southeastern states to manage alligator populations. Today, approximately 100,000 alligators occupy the state of South Carolina.
For information about the Public Alligator Harvest Program and the application process, visit the DNR at www.dnr.sc.gov.