Sharing Summer Pleasures with Wildlife

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Ross Barnett Reservoir located in Central Mississippi is a great summer location for the residents, boating, swimming, fishing, great outdoor recreation. One drawback, the residents have to share the reservoir with the reservoir's year long residents; alligators. John Sigman, executive director for the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, said the reptiles have been a mainstay at the Ross Barnett Reservoir. "They've been here since there have been alligators," Sigman said. Usually the alligators do stay away from the crowds, but occasionally one will come too close for comfort and will be relocated.

One resident, Tracey Stokes, has seen gators swimming along the roads. One night there was a 3 foot alligator in the middle of the road. Stokes swerved to avoid it, there were no other vehicles on the road. Sigman says they have to remove dead alligators from the road about once a week. The cold blooded animals go onto the road and are struck by vehicles. Some of the larger alligators have done damage to cars. Sigman said this year the state will be doubling the number of alligator licenses they offer. Sigman says the best way to stay safe around alligators is to use common sense, give them a good berth, and don't feed them. Feeding alligators and geese around the reservoir is illegal. The alligators continue returning to places where they are fed. From


groovy mike's picture

I don’t see a downside to hunters in any of this.

Even though hunting is not allowed in the reservoir, this is good news for alligator hunters since the state of Mississippi will be doubling the number of alligator licenses they offer this year. Mr. Sigman is correct when he says that the best way to stay safe around alligators is to use common sense, give them distance and DUH don't feed them!  It seems like alligator populations are on the rise nationwide and the hunting opportunities are increasing.  I don’t see a downside to hunters in any of this.  Thanks for sharing the news with us here on BGH.

hunter25's picture

I myself think that awareness

I myself think that awareness and and avoidance are the best way to handle an area like this. I would hate to say to close an area off completely because they have always been there as that could easily set a precedence for similar situations with other animals. There are many places that I love to camp and hike that there have occasionaly been problem bears, I would hate to be told I can no longer go there since they had first posession. And actually if that were the case we would have to empty out some of the towns around here including Aspen as the bears can be a huge problem during some 

Anyway I think just common sense would avoid nearly every problem as far as alligators go. I would sure hate to be wrong though.

arrowflipper's picture

lot of common

A lot of common sense goes a long ways.  I can tell you that if I were there and saw a 13 foot alligator, I'd give him/her all the room they wanted.  It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some people are when it comes to wild animals.  Buffalo are not considered a deadly animal but more people are killed by buffalo than any other animal in Yellowstone Park. 

I don't know the aggressiveness of alligators, but I'm not so sure I wouldn't find a new place to vacation.  If the alligators have been there since the beginning of time as the article states, maybe it would be a good reservoir to dedicate to them? 

I'm wondering if there shouldn't be areas set aside for wildlife that has been in a certain area for a long time.  As stated, many of the animals are being killed on the highways and I'm sure wasted.  More hunting tags are being issued but I can't see where that is going to take care of the problem.

I don't know the answers but I might be in favor of shutting off human usage and letting the animals have their home.