Speargun Hunting for Gators

by Scott Thompson
It is legal to hunt alligators with a speargun in Florida under certain conditions.

It is legal to hunt alligators with a speargun in Florida under certain conditions.

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Alligator hunting was once completely prohibited, because the animals were endangered. It's legal now in some states, although carefully managed. Alligator hunters most often use harpoons or firearms, but some hunters enjoy the extra challenge of using a speargun. Speargun hunting of alligators is legal in Florida.

Speargun Challenge

Speargun hunting of alligators is particularly challenging, because the alligator must be shot between the eyes in a precise spot to hit its brain -- and an alligator's brain is not a very large target. Even if the hunter scores a direct hit, the alligator may still thrash about for some time before dying. An additional difficulty is that the spear may fail to penetrate the alligator's head at all. Some speargun hunters have reported that their spears simply bounced off without killing the alligator.

The Tire Tube Method

Some speargun hunters have reported success in hunting alligators in the water with a tire tube. The hunter uses fins to cut down on noise in the water, selects a completely dark night for the hunt, and floats out into the water in the tire tube with a speargun and a flashlight. The flashlight is used to spot the alligator's eyes. The size of the alligator can be estimated by the distance between the eyes. Once an alligator is spotted, the hunter swims up close to the alligator to ensure that the spear penetrates the head, and then shoots the alligator between the eyes.

Legality

According to the Florida alligator hunting rules and regulations, Section 68A-25.032, subsection d, it is legal to hunt alligators with a speargun and a light, provided the hunt occurs in accordance with all of the other regulations for alligator hunting in Florida, including the distinctions between hunting in public or private waterways. A 29-page handbook of alligator hunting regulations is available on the website of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Hunters should thoroughly study and understand this handbook before undertaking a speargun alligator hunt .

Permits

Hunters can obtain a permit to participate in the Florida alligator harvest from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The commission assigns trapping licenses for up to two alligators per hunter until the quota for the year is filled. A regular Florida hunting license is not required for the alligator hunt. The hours for alligator hunting begin at 5 p.m. and end at 10 a.m. the following day. The best hours for speargun hunting of alligators are after sunset.

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