TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Alligator hunting season in Florida could look a bit different if a commission approves a proposal to expand hours and legalize airbows as a weapon.
At the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s meeting on March 2, discussions will center around allowing airbows to capture alligators and increasing hunting from 17 to 24 hours per day.
The proposed changes are part of a review meant to provide hunters greater flexibility and opportunities.
Currently, hunting is limited to between the hours of 5 p.m. until 10 a.m. from August 15 to November 1.
An agenda packet states, "by allowing hunting 24 hours a day, this proposal would provide those with an alligator trapping license/alligator harvest permit seven more hours a day of hunting opportunity and greater flexibility to schedule hunts."
In addition to the change in hours, commissioners could also expand alligator harvesting methods to include airbows.
The commission said airbows have increased in popularity with hunters and allow younger enthusiasts and those with mobility issues to participate.
The airbow is an air gun that propels arrows to allow a harvester to secure the animal.
The weapon would join other legal methods of harvesting including bows, crossbows, harpoons and spears.
The FWC said there has been strong support for these proposed rule changes.
The FWC says they are in the position to ease some of the season’s restrictions because of the success of conserving the alligator population.
Estimates put the Florida population around 1.3 million reptiles, which has been stable for many years.
If the proposed hunting changes are approved, the commission would likely make an announcement during its May meeting in time for the start of the 2022 season.