Southern Gator Hunt Draws Fire

Population control should be left to experts, critics say
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2008 8:10 AM CDT
An alligator soaks up the sun in Miccosukee Village in the Florida Everglades.    (AP PHoto/J.Pat Carter)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Complaints about alligators creeping into people's pools and resting in roadside ditches have prompted several Southern states to allow hunters to track down the dinosaur descendants, the Christian Science Monitor reports. South Carolina hopes its first public hunt in decades will prevent dangerous gator incidents. But critics say the hunt should be left "to the pros"—not wannabe Steve Irwins.

Recently, three amateur hunters needed 18 pistol shots to kill a nearly 13-foot gator. The incident is renewing calls for South Carolina to rethink its hunt. "It was barbaric," said an animal control expert. The real issue is territory, argues an animal rights advocate. "We keep encroaching" on their territory and "doing things that bring them closer and make them less fearful," she said.