Fish and Wildlife officials say it's a new record for gator permits, the most permits they've ever sold. Does it have anything to do with recent stories of gator attacks?
Fish and Wildlife experts say you can bet your hide on it. Hunters are tired of hearing about alligator attacks and they're firing back with firepower.
The frightening tales of these critters with scales was enough to have hunters lined up like teens to a rock concert, waiting for a permit to help control the gator population. 4,400 permits were sold in just four hours.
Tony Young, FWC Hunting and Game spokesperson, said, "We didn't realize we'd sell them so quick, but we felt we would sell them all."
It's hard to believe, but gators were in danger of dying out just a couple decades ago. Back in 1988 they started issuing permits to hunt him.
Mike Jones, a wildlife expert, said, "They were listed as endangered and made illegal to hunt, and then as the population increased back in the late 70s early 80s there started to be controlled harvesting of alligators."
At one time there were only a few thousand gators left in the wild. Today FWC estimates there are around one million. Wildlife experts say the only natural enemy to a gator over a foot long is a human.
So unless you have a permit, FWC says avoid getting close enough to stare into these eyes.
Tony Young, FWC Hunting and Game spokesperson, said, "Don't snorkel and recreate in real wilderness areas, and if you do, be with a large group of people, you know. The saying, ‘there's safety in numbers;’ that's really true."
Hunting season begins August 15 and lasts through November 1. In 1977 the alligator was downgraded from endangered to threatened. In 1987 it was listed as threatened due to its similar appearance to the American crocodile.