Eastern NC communities now have until June 1 to apply for a limited alligator hunt

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. -- The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has extended the deadline for municipalities to apply for an alligator hunt for the fall season.

The application period has been extended to June 1 for permitted hunts in cities, towns and villages within Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico and Pender counties, according to a wildlife commission news release. Counties cannot apply for a hunt.

Earlier this year, the wildlife commission approved a limited hunting season from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1 for municipalities in the designated counties as an option for towns struggling with large, disruptive alligator populations while wildlife commission biologists research the state's alligator populations and their habitat needs. The commission has a similar municipality-requested hunt structure in place for elk.

Should a town request an alligator hunt, the commission would work with the municipality to determine the number of permits to be issued. The commission would then announce they are accepting applications, and though there is no limit to how many people can apply for the permits, the commission would only draw whatever number of permits was approved via a lottery system.

At the end of March, no municipality had requested an alligator hunt.

Belville, a town in Brunswick County, went as far as to pass a resolution opposing alligator hunting within town limits. Mayor Mike Allen said while the town doesn't have an issue with the state having an alligator hunting season, Belville wants to remain an alligator sanctuary. The town has an expansive park system along the Brunswick River that allows visitors to view animals, such as alligators, in their natural habitat.

Although now fairly common in much of the Southeast, alligators remain on the federal threatened species list because of its resemblance to the endangered American crocodile.

Reporter Makenzie Holland can be reached at 910-343-2371 or Makenzie.Holland@StarNewsOnline.com.