Treacherous water an added concern for the start of alligator season

Published 11:48 am Wednesday, August 24, 2022

JACKSON — Mississippi’s alligator season begins this weekend, and the big beasts aren’t the only hazard officials are warning hunters about.

Days of heavy rainfall are likely to create flooding conditions in the state’s bayous and rivers that will make boating treacherous.

“Recent weather has brought widespread locally heavy rainfall with some areas experiencing over 10 inches. This could cause local flash flooding and dangerous waterway conditions,” Ricky Flynt, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks’ alligator program coordinator, said in a release. “Hunters are encouraged to remain weather aware, delay hunting in dangerous conditions, and never go boating when there is a threat of lightning.”

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The 10-day public waters alligator season begins Friday at noon and ends Sept. 5 at noon. The private lands season also begins Friday at noon, but will continue until Sept. 19 at noon.

Permit holders may harvest two alligators over 4 feet long, only one of which may exceed 7 feet. The bag limit restrictions are intended to distribute the harvest among adults and juvenile alligators.

There were 776 alligators harvested in Mississippi during the 2021 season. Another 1,581 gators were caught and released.

Private lands hunting opportunities are offered in 36 counties including Warren, Claiborne, Hinds, Sharkey, Issaquena, Yazoo and Copiah.

Properties in the open counties must contain a minimum of 20 acres of privately owned permanent surface water to qualify for an alligator harvest voucher. The bag limits for private lands are the same as for public waters.

All persons 16 or older who are in a vessel with or assisting a permit-holder must possess an alligator license as well as a valid prerequisite hunting license. A training course, available online at mdwfp.org, is also required.
More than 7,000 people applied for permits during the application period in June, and a total of 980 permits were issued across the Mississippi’s seven hunting zones.

The Southwest and West Central zones are bisected by Interstate 20, with the southern half of Warren County in the Southwest zone and the northern half in the West Central zone. A total of 190 permits were issued for each zone.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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