Public Vs. Private-Land Gator Hunters in SC

From this story in the Charleston Post & Courier:
_Plantation owners can shoot virtually as many alligators as they want, even from a comfortable distance with a rifle and scope. They also can hold safari-style hunts for guests, sometimes for a fee, during the fall hunting season. That's South Carolina law and was considered part of the management of the protected species that was hunted and poached for generations, until it was returned from the point of extinction in the Southeast.

__Private land owners apply for state "tags" to kill gators during the season; the fee is $10 per alligator. It's a sharp contrast to the public hunt, where people have to apply for a blind draw to win a permit to hunt one alligator, pay a $100 fee, somehow snare the thrashing, quarter-ton reptile and drag it in to be killed with a bang stick or a handgun -- as a safety measure to keep hunters from shooting the animals at a distance. One in every three alligators killed during the public-hunt season last year was killed on a private, riverside plantation -- a total 225 gators. Berkeley County plantations led the private hunt with 66 alligators, 30 percent of the statewide total. Three of every four of those animals were killed at one plantation, Buck Hall.

The private land provision was added to the alligator hunting law by Rep. David Umphlett, R-Moncks Corner, who said at the time that it would help large property owners control the number of gators. Umphlett is a part-owner of Buck Hall. "I don't see a thing wrong with what we're doing," he said last week. "We own our land. We've got an investment we're trying to protect." Not everyone agrees. Some hunters said the difference in cost, kills and weapons between the public and private hunt smells like a privilege for private land owners. "It just seems a little unfair. It draws up all kinds of questions, and most people don't have a clue about it," said Shawn Adkins, of Ladson, one of the hunters who enters the public permit blind draw._

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