Mississippians have only a few more hours to apply for the 2013 public waters alligator hunt, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

“We’ll be accepting them up until midnight tonight,” said Ricky Flynt, the alligator program coordinator for the MDWFP. “The system is set to close it out at that time.”

Going statewide for the first time since alligator hunting began in 2005, a total of 920 permits are available in seven zones for the Aug. 30-Sept. 9 season. As expected, competition for the privilege is fierce.

As of 11 a.m. today, Flynt said 6,152 unique applicants had applied online at mdwfp.com. A total of 23,111 different zone applications had been accepted.

Applying is free, and must be done through the website. Each applicant can enter as many of the seven zones as desired. They are asked to rank them in order of preference, and each zone can be entered only one time.

After the draw is conducted, probably later this week, successful applicants will be notified at the e-mail address required on the application. Each permit requires a $100 fee and allows the capture of two alligators — both over 4 feet and only one over 7 feet. A $25 alligator hunting license is also required by the permit holder and anyone assisting on the hunt.