Alabama has Successful Alligator Season

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The fortunate Alabama hunters who were drawn for alligator harvest permits had another rewarding year with an 84-percent success rate on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

The six-night 2007 season, which concluded Monday, was conducted on consecutive weekends in the Delta and yielded 84 alligators out of 100 permits.

The largest taken in the Delta was a 12-foot, 10-inch gator that weighed 641 pounds and made John Sutton a celebrity in his hometown of Stockton. A 525-pounder taken by Michael Odom of Citronelle measured 12-5, while Cory Smith of Loxley had a 12-6 gator that weighed 492 pounds. All three gators were larger than the heaviest animal taken during the 2006 season.

"It was another successful year,” said Chuck Sharp, District V supervising wildlife biologist with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. "There were no injuries that we know of, and a success rate of 84 percent is very good."

"All the comments we got from the hunters were very good and they were ready to do it again."

For the first time, an alligator season was also held at Lake Eufaula with 40 permits issued and 14 hunters managed to bag gators. Although the success rate didn’t match the Delta, Lake Eufaula did produce the heaviest alligator of the year.

William Simmons of Headland weighed in a 675-pound gator that was 11 feet, 11 ½ inches and had a girth of 59 inches. Bob Schaffield of Birmingham had the longest alligator taken at Lake Eufaula at 12 feet, 8 inches and it weighed 540 pounds.

Bill Gray, District VI supervising wildlife biologist, said there were several factors that affected the three-night season at Lake Eufaula.

"We asked the hunters how many gators they saw," Gray said. "Some saw as few as three and some as high as 55. They had trouble getting close and hooking them. A week before the season, people were out at night scouting and it may have had the alligators spooked a little. And the lake is down five feet. That might have put the gators out of reach and hindered navigation. They also had to be cautious about straying into Georgia water or the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge."

"But everybody loved it. The ones that got a gator, you'd have thought they had gone to Africa and killed a Cape buffalo. They really appreciated it."

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit