For the first time in almost a half century, South Carolina is holding a public alligator hunt.

The month-long gator season begins Saturday. A maximum 1,000 hunting permits will be available, although not every hunter is expected to catch an alligator.

The last time the public could hunt gators was in 1964.

Wildlife officials said the gator population in South Carolina has remained fairly stable at about 100,000 alligators during the past decade. But sprawling coastal development means gators are increasingly encountering people.