Alligator hunters prepare for upcoming season

Published 6:35pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An alligator hunting meeting Saturday, filled with mostly first-time alligator hunters, reviewed Alabama’s hunting regulations and awarded tags to hunters that were lucky enough to receive one.

“The way alligator season is set up, people enter a lottery. They are randomly drawn,” Conservation Enforcement Officer Sgt. Joe Johnston said. “Fifty tags are issued for this stretch of river. Anyone who draws that tag, to receive that tag, they [had to] come to the meeting.”

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries delivered a presentation led by Chris Nix, a wildlife biologist, introducing key facts about alligators and how to properly hunt and kill the animal.

On the History Channel’s show “Swamp People”, the main connection most people have to alligator hunting, many different ways to kill alligators are depicted. Johnston says in Alabama hunting alligators is very different.

“It is a lot different from Swamp People. It is only at night, two weekends, six days total [in central Alabama]. It is a Thursday, Friday, Saturday night. The animal has to be caught,” Johnston said. “The most common method is with rod and reel and has to be tied off to the boat before it is harvested. Just shooting an alligator off the bank or setting the hooks like they do in “Swamp People”, all that is illegal here. That doesn’t happen here.”

Unlike many other states, hunters in Alabama only receive one tag, meaning they can only kill one alligator.

“You can have as many people in the boat with you as you want or the boat can legally hold, but everyone in the boat has to have a hunting license,” Johnston said.

Alligator season is in only its sixth year in Alabama. This year’s hunts for alligator season are August 15-18 and August 22-25, from sunset to sunrise each day. Among those participating from Dallas County include Olivia Smith, Ware Cox, and Jim Nelson.

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