Alligator hunting approved in Loxahatchee Refuge, season to start in August

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. - Alligator hunter Bishop Wright, Jr.,  has been fighting to hunt in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge for more than a decade.

​"Long time coming...been fighting for this for about 13 years," said Wright.

And now it appears he has finally won. Alligator hunting has been approved for the southern tip of the refuge.

"It's a tradition as a Glades man its something I got to have," said Wright.

The hunt begins in August. It will allow a maximum of 11 hunters to kill a total of 22 alligators. Those  hunters can only go out on their boats at night.

"Very disappointed, we think wildlife refuges should be places alligators are protected for harm and not hunted for sport," said Nick Atwood.

Atwood works with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. He thinks the new hunt will steer people away from visiting the refuge.

"If tourists learned that this is a place where alligators are killed, I think it could ruin the experience," said Atwood.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the Loxahatchee decision as part of a general expansion of hunting at wildlife refuges around the country. And expanding the number of places where you can hunt alligators is a goal of Wright's.

"The thrill and excitement is probably what keeps everybody going, it's just something you can't explain until you harvest an alligator that weighs twice as much as you and twice as long as you," said Wright.

Permits will be issued later this year by random drawing.

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