The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will open registration for Alabama’s eighth regulated alligator hunting season on June 4, 2013. The hunts will be held on August 15-18 and August 22-25 in southwest and west central Alabama, and on August 9-25 in southeast Alabama. To register for the alligator hunts, visit outdooralabama.com starting June 4. Online registration for the random tag drawing will end at 8 a.m. on July 12.
A total of 275 tags will be issued for the hunts. Fifty tags will be issued for the hunt area in west central Alabama, which includes Monroe County, Wilcox County and Dallas County. A total of 75 tags will be issued for southeast Alabama, which includes Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Russell Counties. For the southwest Alabama hunts, which take place in all of Baldwin and Mobile counties, and parts of Washington, Clarke, and Monroe counties, 150 tags will be issued.
The cost is $6 to apply and individuals may register multiple times. Only Alabama residents age 16 years or older and all Alabama lifetime license holders (age 16 and older) may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag. Alabama lifetime license holders may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag even if they have moved out of the state.
Hunters will be randomly chosen by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag each, and the tags are non-transferable. If selected for an Alligator Possession Tag at two or more locations, the hunter will be allowed to choose which location they would like to hunt. The other locations not chosen will be filled from a list of alternates.
The random selection of hunters takes place on July 12. Applicants will be able to check their status at outdooralabama.com after the drawing takes place. Applicants selected to receive a permit must complete an online acceptance by 8 a.m. on July 16. After that date, alternates will be called by telephone to fill any vacancies.
Selected hunters and their assistants are required to have in their possession a valid hunting license. Most hunters will be required to complete the Alligator Training Course provided by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) personnel, some exceptions apply. Hunters who have participated in previous alligator hunts and are selected to hunt this year should contact their local WFF district wildlife office to determine if they are exempt from the mandatory training class. A list of WFF wildlife district offices can be found at outdooralabama.com/contact.
Each person receiving an Alligator Possession Tag will be allowed to harvest one alligator. Hunting hours are 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in all locations. 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 feet 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 population has continued to grow.
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.
Image courtesy Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources