Anyone with a hankering to go head-to-head with Florida's most fearsome reptiles - legally - can apply for a hunting license starting today.
Applications for the estimated 6,000 Public Waters Alligator Hunting Permits will be accepted from 10 a.m. today through 11:59 p.m. June 15.
That's an increase of about 1,000 permits compared with 2008.
"We've got about a million gators in Florida," says Gary Morse of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We've conservatively increased the number of permits over the years. The alligator population is healthy and capable of sustaining a greater harvest."
A permit lets you legally bag two alligators in a designated area. Applicants must be 18 years old by Aug. 15. If selected, Florida residents pay $271.50 for a license and out-of-state hunters must fork over $1,021.50.
If permits remain after the first round, applications will be accepted from 10 a.m. July 1 through 11:59 p.m. July 6. Permits remaining after that will be sold beginning July 7.
The season begins one hour after sunset Aug. 15 and ends one hour after sunrise Nov. 1.
Applications can be submitted at county tax collectors' offices or at a retail outlet that sells hunting and fishing licenses. Applications also can be submitted at www.myfwc.com/license.