SC hunters bag fewer gators, maybe due to COVID-19 and cold

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina hunters bagged about 100 fewer alligators this hunting season than last year.

The Post and Courier reports that just 243 gators were bagged from September to October.

The state Department of Natural Resources said cooler temperatures, rain and COVID-19 could all be factors for the decrease.

“I don’t know if that was a combination of weather or a combination of weather and COVID,” Jay Butfiloski, the department’s alligator program coordinator, told the Post and Courier. “It was definitely a strange year all around, as everybody can attest.”

More than 7,000 people from 47 states applied to hunt alligators in South Carolina this year. The department drew 1,000 applicants from a lottery.

Three 13-foot-long gators were reported to the agency, and one processing company says it received a gator from Lake Moultrie weighing 758 pounds.