The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announced that Alabama’s third regulated alligator hunting season will be held Aug. 15-18 and Aug. 22-25, 2008 in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and again at Lake Eufaula on Aug. 21-24, 2008. (In 2007, for the first time, an alligator season was added at Lake Eufaula where the largest gator was harvested – 675 pounds.) Online registration will be accepted until July 14 at www.outdooralabama.com.
“Each year, Alabama’s regulated alligator hunts continue to be very successful,” said Commissioner M. Barnett Lawley. “Expanding the hunts to two locations last year really contributed to the mission of thinning out the increasing gator population in our state.”
Almost 1,300 hunters registered for the 2007 hunts with 140 being selected to participate. The 103 harvested alligators from those hunts ranged in size and weight from 6’0” to 12’10” in length and from 41 to 675 pounds at weigh-in. Hunters traveled from all over the state to participate.
Hunters will be randomly chosen by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag. Applications will be accepted online at www.outdooralabama.com. The cost is $6 to apply and individuals may register multiple times. Only Alabama residents age 16 years or older may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag. Permits are non-transferable. Selected hunters will be notified by e-mail after the registration deadline on July 14. Once notified, selected hunters must confirm their hunt participation by July 16 at 5 p.m. Selected hunters and their assistants are required to have in their possession a valid 2007-08 hunting license. Each selected hunter is required to complete the Alligator Training Course provided by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division personnel. Each person receiving an Alligator Possession Tag will be allowed to harvest one alligator six feet in length or longer. Hunting hours will be from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. each day. All Alabama hunting and boating regulations must be followed.
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest reptile in North America. A fully mature alligator may grow to 14’ in length and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. Known for its prized meat and leather, the species was threatened with extinction due to unregulated harvest during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. No regulations existed in those days to limit the number of alligators harvested. In 1938, it is believed that Alabama was the first state to protect alligators by outlawing these harvests. Other states soon followed and in 1967 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the American alligator on the Endangered Species list. By 1987, the species was removed from the Endangered Species list and the alligator has continued to grow in population.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.