Area alligator season begins today

Published 11:39 am Friday, September 9, 2011

The great Mississippi River flood of 2011 had little impact on the alligator population in the Mississippi river counties and those in the Pearl River Zone. With that being the case, the hunting season for alligator will begin today for licensed hunters on private land in 26 approved counties, including Warren, Claiborne, and Issaquena.

On Thursday, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries delayed the start of alligator hunting season to Sept. 23-24 for public water areas in the Pearl River zone because of flooding on the Pearl River from Tropical Storm Lee. The season for the Pearl River zone was scheduled to begin today and continue through Saturday. The second date, Sept. 16-17, will continue as scheduled.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries spokesman Ricky Flynt said the state’s 2011 season of alligator hunting on private land and in the Pascagoula River zone will go on as scheduled.

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“The (Mississippi River) flood had no affect on the alligator population,” Flynt said. “While we did get a lot of displacement from the flood, the alligators were able to go back to their home range once the waters receded. We had very few incidents where we had to act in removing an alligator from a private property, and the only known deaths were from road kills.”

Warren and Issaquena counties are two of the prime private property hunt sites for alligator during the season which will run today until Oct 3.

“We have identified 83 properties in the state that are approved for alligator hunting and Warren County is definitely one of the highest numbers on the list with nine,” Flynt said. “Issaquena has the most with 19 and Claiborne County has seven.”

In order for a hunt to be conducted on private land, the area must include 20 acres of privately owned surface water, requires an alligator harvest voucher, along with special documentation and landowner permission.

Hunters are permitted by a state lottery and a total of 2,892 were approved. Hunters were required to attend an alligator hunting training course.

Last year, 132 alligators were harvested in the Pearl River zone, including 54 in Warren County. A total of 92 were harvested in the Pascagoula River zone on the coast.