North Carolina opened up alligator hunting for the first time in over four decades in several areas – but it seems the much hyped season did not live up to expectations.
"It looks like some great alligator habitat. The problem is there aren't any alligators," hunter Jeffrey Raub told CBS 17.
The state awarded 20 randomly-chosen people out of the 1,800 applications with hunting permits for the season, which ends October 1.
"The initial thought was a lot of excitement," Raub said.
The state has not allowed alligator hunting since 1973, but officials said an increase in calls from citizens needing assistance with alligators forced them to reconsider.
“It is pretty obvious to anyone that lives and works here that the alligator… interactions are on the rise,” Assistant County Manager Kris Noble said, via The Wall Street Journal.
However, the “obvious” need has not resulted in any alligator kills since the season began September 1.
"A permit to hunt any animal is not a guarantee," North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Conservation Biologist Alicia Davis said, noting the lack of alligators may have something to do with Hurricane Florence.
"It's really hard to say at this point. It is something we're going to be looking into. I don't think it's one factor, I think it's probably multiple," she added to CBS 17.
But with one day left in the hunt, even Raub – who was awarded one of the $250 permits – says he probably wouldn’t kill an alligator if he saw it now.
"I don't know at this point if we saw one if I'd shoot one, because it might be the only alligator in Englehard, and I don't want that resting on my conscience," Raub said to CBS 17.