Scaly Moose Season

August 22nd, 2010 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Sharing a coast and an ocean, being rife with the rural, and depending heavily on nature and tourism, South Carolina and Maine have some striking differences. Consider that one is nearing moose season and the other prepares to issue its permits for gator hunting.

gator1Up in these parts, Maine has a lot more wishful moose baggers than moose. It has an elaborate lottery/licensing system and a hunting guide. Unwritten in any of those or its FAQ is the danger quotient. You are much more likely to be killed or injured in a moose encounter if you drive into one on the highway than if you confront one nose to nose.

Down there though, the risks of death, dismemberment, even fatal infection are integral to the homey thrill of gator hunting.

Yet there are basic similarities, like:

  • S.C. has zones (management units 1 through 4) with a permit specific to the zone
  • S.C. sells up to 1,000 alligator permits per season (second September Saturday through second October Saturday)
  • Everyone pays $10 to be in the lottery
  • Lottery winners pay an additional $100 for the permit (an additional $200 as of this year for non-resident gator grabbers)
  • As with moose, it is not that easy. Last year’s hunters got 452 alligators.
  • As with moose, successful hunters tag and report a kill to the Department Natural Resources

S.C. has only permitted these hunts for the past couple of years. This is so popular that the Palmetto state holds two-hour informational sessions. One just happened. The other will be in Spartanburg next Saturday, 8/28 at 2 p.m. as part of the Harry Hampton Hunting & Fishing Expo. These cover the essentials from paperwork to safe gator handling.

A mildly gruesome recap of the first session appears in The State. It is replete with such info as a dead gator can still maim or kill the hunter. The hunt is likewise sobering. Harpooning is the preferred capture method. Then you and as many quirkily willing chums as you have get the beast close enough to the boat to slice key arteries or use a pistol for final dispatch.

Your immediate reward, should you successfully land it and get it ashore without injuries from the tail or claws, might be a BBQ. You can eat, but not sell, the meat.

Clearly, a moose-hide rug would be better in front of the fire than an alligator hide, although I bet they have similar worth if you sold them. Plus, down South, fur and indoor fires are not the hit they are up here.

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