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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.

Cases: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
Lauderdale6813226
Lowndes6017137
Lamar586880
Lafayette5721113
Washington5205130
Bolivar4604122
Oktibbeha440693
Panola428893
Pearl River4144129
Warren4124113
Pontotoc408469
Marshall401892
Monroe3982126
Union394974
Neshoba3782168
Lincoln3508100
Hancock343874
Leflore3367118
Sunflower317686
Tate301774
Pike299795
Scott293170
Alcorn291261
Itawamba289374
Yazoo287962
Coahoma277367
Tippah276765
Copiah276357
Simpson273878
Prentiss269558
Leake252271
Wayne252241
Marion251978
Covington248478
Grenada246677
Adams233877
George231245
Newton227552
Winston221475
Jasper212945
Tishomingo211965
Attala206269
Chickasaw200951
Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
Yalobusha143737
Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Montgomery121838
Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
Amite111232
Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
Tunica98923
Claiborne98129
Benton93324
Humphreys92527
Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
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