Private-land gator hunting begins here in September|[07/15/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Local landowners will have the opportunity to participate in the state’s first private-lands alligator hunt, which the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks announced today will take place Sept. 26 through Oct. 4. Private tracts in Warren, Issaquena, Yazoo, Hinds, Holmes, Madison and Rankin counties are eligible for the one-week harvest.

“This season will be used as a pilot to evaluate where we’ll go from here,” said Ricky Flynt, MDWFP Alligator Program coordinator. “In the future I anticipate we’ll expand the hunt quite a bit. We know of other counties that would be suitable for an alligator harvest right now, but we need to start with a program we can effectively evaluate.”

The first alligator hunting season on public waters in Mississippi took place in 2005, and it has been expanded each year since to award more permits and include more eligible waters. The private-lands hunting season is different, said Flynt, in that it will allow for daytime hunting and for firearms to be used.

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Landowners with a minimum of 20 acres of surface water have until Aug. 15 to apply for a tag. An additional tag can be obtained for every 100 acres of surface water owned in addition to the first 20 acres. Alligators must be at least 4 feet long to be harvested. Landowners are allowed to transfer tags to resident and nonresident hunters 16 and older. The cost of each permit is $100 for residents and $200 for non-residents.

To applyApplications for the first private-lands alligator hunt are available online at, or by calling 601-432-2199. There is a nonrefundable $5 application fee, and the deadline is Aug. 15. Applicants must be at least 16 years old.Everyone who plans to take part in the hunt is required to complete a training course on Sept. 6, from 9 a.m. until noon, at the MDWFP Central Office in Jackson. Those who have completed the course required for public waters alligator hunts must also complete the private lands hunting course.

“We have no idea what the participation will be like. I expect it will be good,” Flynt said.

Population estimates compiled by the MDWFP in 2000 suggest a minimum of 700 alligators are located in the roughly 36,000 acres of alligator habitat in Warren County. Issaquena and Yazoo counties are estimated to have at least 400 alligators each. Statewide, the wildlife department estimated there were about 40,000 alligators in 2000.

“I think those numbers could easily be doubled by now,” said Flynt. “We’re working on getting updated estimates. What wasn’t taken into account in 2000 was a lot of small, private lakes.”

Alligators remain a protected species. Any killing of alligators without state authorization can result in prosecution.