Gator tag drawing an illegal lottery, says lawmaker - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Gator tag drawing an illegal lottery, says lawmaker

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Alabama Senator Paul Sanford of Huntsville said the state's hunters are being forced into an illegal game for the chance to hunt alligators.

In June, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) let hunters apply for a total of 275 alligator hunting tags statewide.  A random drawing to determine who got one was held in July. 

Applying for a spot in the drawing cost $6. That, said Sanford, is no different from a lottery, which is prohibited by the state constitution. 

"My issue is not that they were going to have a drawing," he said "but that they had a random drawing that people had to pay to enter and they could enter unlimited times as long as they paid the $6 fee each time. I'm aware of at least one individual that entered around 100 times."

Sanford called on the DCNR to change the mechanism for giving out gator tags. He suggested a system used in other states. 

"You would pay to enter the drawing and if you didn't get drawn, they would send back your fee. So you didn't pay to play. You paid to enter and once you get drawn that gets applied toward your license. I think Alabama needs to look at that."

In devising the drawing with a fee, Sanford said the DCNR went too far in exercising its authority to raise money for wildlife conservation.

He predicted action to force a change in the state legislature if the DCNR doesn't make changes in time for next year's alligator season.

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