Wild Alligator Season Set

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The statewide wild alligator season has been set by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. The commission voted unanimously to accept a resolution and declaration of emergency that will officially set the season from Wednesday, August 28 through September 30. The resolution was presented by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at the commission's July 2 meeting.

The season was set following a presentation and recap of last year's alligator harvest by Noel Kinler. According to Kinler, the 2001 harvest was up from the previous year. With an average length of just over seven feet, 31,457 alligators were harvested. An additional 3,126 alligators averaging 5.8 feet were harvested as part of the "bonus tag program," aimed at increasing the collection of alligators between four and five feet in length. The estimated wild hide and meat value of the entire 2001 harvest was $8.9 million.

The department reported that statewide alligator populations are considered "stable to increasing." They also anticipate that current marsh conditions should result in average nest production for 2002.

Department biologists continue to work on a coast-wide nest survey. When that survey is completed, 2002 harvest quotas will be prepared.