Hunters bagged 918 alligators on Mississippi public waters

13-foot gator caught on Aug. 31 on the Mississippi River by Jonathan Cheney, Bradley Sullivan, Joseph Coggin, Robert Thompson

Alligator hunters had a good 2019 season in Mississippi.

Posted: Sep 17, 2019 4:09 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2019 4:11 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Great weather, high water and increasing expertise made for a good alligator season in Mississippi's public waters, says state alligator program coordinator Ricky Flynt.

Hunters took 918 alligators from Mississippi's public waters this year, up 153 from last year's harvest, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks said. Paul Edwards of Okolona and five others tied a state record by catching a 10-foot-long (3-meter-long) female.

"Water levels and weather are the single largest benefits to hunter effort and success," Flynt wrote in an email Monday. Higher water makes most river systems easier to navigate, he said, "and the weather was absolutely perfect for the entire 10-day season."

He said he also thinks experience gained since the state's first season in 2005 has made hunters better at finding and catching alligators.

The state record is 982 harvested in 2015, when 997 permit holders and their guests went out on the water and 693 groups brought home at least one alligator. About three-quarters of this year's 816 groups harvested a gator or two.

The time needed to find and harvest an alligator averaged nearly 10½ hours in 2015 but less than 8 hours this year, according to data provided by Flynt.

The number of alligators harvested is far less than the number caught. Hunters caught and released 2,147 alligators in 2015, 1,671 last year and 2,018 this year.

Permit holders have a season limit of two alligators. To ensure a good mix of younger animals and big old gators, both must be at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) long, and only one may be more than 7 feet (2 meters) long.

"Hunters target larger alligators as a 'trophy' and also target alligators that are slightly under 7 feet long due to the bag limit parameters. Most hunters capture multiple alligators each year but will release many until they capture one or two that meet their harvest expectations," Flynt wrote.

Bait and artificial lures are illegal in Mississippi. Hunters can snag alligators with weighted triple hooks, use a snare pole to get a loop of rope around an animal's neck, or shoot them with either a harpoon that has a detachable point or an arrow equipped with a fish point.

This year, 3,065 hunters participated, including 816 permit holders. The department said 617 permit holders and their friends caught at least one alligator this year.

The 10-day public harvest ended Sept. 9. The private lands season, which has some different rules and requires state harvest vouchers, continues until 6 a.m. Sept. 23. Far fewer alligators are generally taken on private lands - the four-year total from 2014 through 2017 was 411.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60553

Reported Deaths: 1703
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5209106
DeSoto328027
Madison228154
Rankin212428
Harrison209832
Jackson192934
Jones176557
Forrest163153
Washington148032
Lauderdale132388
Lee123230
Neshoba119487
Lamar111512
Oktibbeha105235
Lowndes97332
Warren96426
Scott95317
Bolivar93932
Copiah90924
Panola90711
Sunflower90622
Lafayette8699
Holmes84347
Leflore83259
Pike82632
Grenada81220
Yazoo77311
Leake76725
Lincoln74339
Wayne73221
Pontotoc7247
Simpson71126
Monroe69750
Coahoma65910
Tate64523
Marion59918
Adams58025
Covington57811
Winston57115
Marshall5668
George5415
Union51913
Newton51611
Attala49524
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48236
Walthall44218
Chickasaw43519
Noxubee41710
Claiborne40013
Smith37713
Jasper3758
Calhoun3748
Clay36814
Alcorn3544
Prentiss3376
Hancock32614
Tishomingo3163
Yalobusha31610
Lawrence3135
Itawamba30710
Tippah30412
Clarke29825
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26911
Tunica2656
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Perry2217
Quitman2211
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis1986
Webster19712
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1483
Choctaw1264
Benton1240
Franklin1142
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 88811

Reported Deaths: 1576
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11650225
Mobile8998191
Montgomery6198143
Madison493225
Tuscaloosa391263
Baldwin317522
Shelby300232
Marshall294730
Unassigned263351
Lee249140
Morgan220615
Etowah191425
DeKalb167713
Elmore158437
Calhoun15359
Walker145763
Houston130912
Dallas128023
Russell12201
Franklin118420
Limestone118313
St. Clair118212
Cullman111311
Colbert107612
Lauderdale105312
Autauga101020
Escambia96515
Talladega89013
Jackson8163
Chambers81438
Tallapoosa80478
Dale77619
Butler75135
Blount7223
Covington70420
Coffee7035
Chilton6976
Pike6547
Barbour5625
Lowndes54624
Marion53524
Marengo51514
Clarke4849
Hale44925
Bullock43711
Perry4284
Winston42811
Wilcox4029
Monroe3884
Randolph38810
Conecuh37110
Bibb3643
Pickens3639
Sumter36118
Washington31011
Macon30813
Lawrence3060
Crenshaw2843
Choctaw27312
Henry2433
Greene24011
Cherokee2337
Geneva2260
Clay2165
Lamar1942
Fayette1695
Cleburne1141
Coosa902
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