New State Alligator Hunting Season

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Mississippi will have a special hunting season on alligators in September, according to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWF&P).

On June 30, a public notice of intent was signed initiating the first public alligator hunting season in Mississippi history.

Applications will be accepted Aug.1-15 and can be picked up at any District office, the MDWF&P Jackson office, or the MDWFP website. After the application period, 50 randomly drawn individuals will have the opportunity to harvest one alligator, four feet in length or longer in the Pearl River, north of Mississippi 43 and south of the Coal Bluff boat ramp.

Selected hunters will participate in a mandatory alligator training course on Aug. 27 to be held at the Turcotte Hunter Education Facility on Mississippi 43. It will focus on subjects such as alligator biology, capture methods, safety, and animal processing.

Applicants for the hunt must be 16 years of age or older and must have a valid hunting and fishing license. Selected hunters will be required to purchase an Alligator Hunting License ($25) and an Alligator Possession Permit ($100). All assistants in the hunting party will be required to purchase an Alligator Hunting License.

The season will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Sept. 16-18 and on Sept. 23-25. There will be a mandatory check-in and check-out at the Turcotte Hunter Education Facility each day.

"Uncontrolled hunting led the American alligator to endangered status in the 1950s and 60s, but its numbers have rebounded to levels that can support a managed harvest across much of the southeastern United States", State Alligator Program Leader Ricky Flynt said.

Upon completion of the 2005 alligator hunting season, MDWFP officials will assess the hunting methods and successes in order to expand additional hunting opportunities in other parts of the state.

The full text of Public Notice of Intent #W3758 (I), dealing with the alligator hunting season, can be found on www.mdwfp.com in thePress/News Room section (Take me there). For more information call the MDWF&P Jackson office at (601)-432-2400.