News In Brief - October 15, 2008

Clover eases water restrictions

CLOVER -- To accommodate the fall planting season, the town of Clover eased water restrictions on Monday, allowing residents to water lawns twice a week with automatic sprinkler systems.

Residents may water lawns between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays until Nov. 30.

After Nov. 30, watering will again be limited to once a week.

Residents are now allowed to wash cars, motorcycles, boats and other vehicles with a hand-held hose with automatic shut-off nozzle any day of the week. Previous mandates allowed this only Fridays through Sundays. Washing down sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and other walkways continues to be prohibited.

Clover follows the lead of Gastonia, N.C., which provides the town with water, Rock Hill and other neighboring communities by easing restrictions.

-- Shannon Greene, Enquirer-Herald

S.C. hunters bag 190 gators

COLUMBIA -- The gators have been skinned and the stories swapped at Cordray's Venison Processing, wrapping up South Carolina's first alligator hunting season since 1964.

The small warehouse in Ravenel, not far from the swamps around Charleston, has been hopping with about 60 hunters bringing in their prey to have the meat harvested and the hides stuffed for trophies.

About 190 of the 800 or so hunters given permits to hunt one alligator each have reported a kill for the monthlong season that ended Saturday, said Jay Butfiloski, alligator project coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources.

The haul was close to the 25 percent success rate Butfiloski expected. And while tracking alligators in dismal swamps in the moonlight might seem dangerous, Butfiloski said no injuries have been reported for the season.

That might be in part because gator hunting is a lot different now. In the old days, hunters would head out into swamps at night, shine a light and shoot whatever moved. But by the 1960s, the number of alligators dwindled so much that hunting them was banned.

Alligators have surged back, and the state decided to allow hunting again after the population stabilized at around 100,000 gators.