2017 Florida alligator harvest applications open

The phase one application period for Florida’s annual alligator harvest is open through May 22.

In 2016, 7,145 alligators were harvested. That’s a 6.7 percent increase from 2015. The average length of alligator harvested last year was 8 feet, 2.7 inches.

Watch: Crocodile spotted with dog in its mouth

Lake County and Polk County had the highest number of alligators harvested in 2016 with 334 and 237 harvested respectively.

About 5,000 alligator hunt permits will be issued from a lottery that typical draws 10,000 applicants.

Related: Girl pries herself from gator’s mouth during attack

The hunting season begins August 15 and ends the morning of November 1. The first four weeks of the season are divided into four quota weeks, and each permit is assigned one of those weeks. Legal hunting hours are 5 p.m. through 10 a.m.

Each permit, which costs residents $272 and out-of-state applicants $1,022, allows a hunter two alligator kills per season.

The harvest areas and hunt dates are specific for each permit, and the permits specify the boundaries or limitations of the harvest area.

Related: Florida man goes up against alligator in bid to save dog

For more information on the annual harvest go to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website .

Alligators — like this one spotted in The Acreage in 2011 — tend to hunt opportunistically, not aggressively, said David Hitzig of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. They rarely attack the same prey. That’s what makes the two-gator attack at Disney World in June that killed a 2-year-old boy so rare. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

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