They killed a 12-foot, 5-inch, 620-pound SC alligator. That was the easy part.
Alligator hunting is now legal in some parts of North Carolina, after a 44-year ban. But not all towns eligible are opting to allow gator hunting.
Worried about a decline in its alligator population, Belville decided to ban hunting of the animals in town limits.
In a resolution passed Saturday, town leaders said they were concerned that hunting female alligators could lead to a decline in the overall gator population. The town wanted to see further research to ensure the alligators would not be hunted into scarcity.
Until then, the Belville Board of Commissioners voted not to pursue the option to allow alligator hunting, effectively continuing the ban in town limits.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission approved a N.C. Alligator Management Plan with goals of alligator conservation, education and research, and also to “provide opportunities for public enjoyment of alligators through hunting and wildlife viewing.”
The commission later established a one-month hunting season for gators — from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1.
Alligator hunting in North Carolina is by permit only and each permit holder is allowed only one alligator kill per season.
Alligator hunting was illegal in the United States from the time Congress passed the Endangered Species Act of 1973 until populations rebounded and alligators were removed from the endangered species list, in 1987. Alligator hunting in North Carolina, however, had been outlawed since 1973.
For more information on alligator hunting regulations in North Carolina, go to: www.ncwildlife.org/Blog/february-28-2018-commission-meeting-highlights.