Mississippi this week is celebrating its 15th alligator hunting season.
Running now through Sept. 9th, permit recipients will have the opportunity to hunt the state’s public waterways within certain specified zones to score a gator. For details on the seven “geographical public water alligator hunting zones,” click here.
This year, a total of 960 tags were issued, 33 more than 2018.
Prior to the official launch of the season, which is the last Friday in August each year, hunters were already trolling the waters to locate potential record-breakers.
“We went scouting a couple of weeks ago,” Sterling Walker told WLBT, a local news station. “We know where some big ones are but we ain’t going to tell nobody.”
“I haven’t slept in two nights,” added fellow hunter Bill Parks. “Just like a kid at Christmas.”
Ricky Flynt, the alligator program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks, recounted the state records for weight and size.
“Fourteen feet and a half-inch I think is our length record,” said Flynt. “About 826 lbs is the weight record. With records now, those levels of records now have reached a point where it’s going to be pretty hard to break those. So, last year was the first year in a long time that we didn’t have a record broken.”
A group of friends known as “Team Gatorslayer” was lucky enough to break two records in the past.
“We’ve told people it’s kind of like when a bull comes out of the shoot at the rodeo,” said Elizabeth Greer. “I would think it would feel the same way.”
“You’re in for a trip because they’re mad and they want it off and they’re going to do anything they can,” she continued. “And you just have to hold on and be ready.”
Those who missed out on Mississippi’s 2019 gator season can sign up in the Spring next year. Typically, permits are offered during the first week in June at the cost of $200.
To be eligible one must be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid license, e.g. Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or a Lifetime License.
To download the official 2019 Alligator Hunting Guide, click here.