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An Overview of Alligator Hunting

Alligator peaking head out of water

Alligator hunting often gets a bad rep due to a lack of education and misinformation. While dangerous, the Government placed stringent rules and regulations to ensure neither the animal nor the hunter gets hurt.

In addition, alligator hunting plays a critical role in the conversation of their ecosystem and protecting human lives. To ensure hunters don't use inhumane hunting practices and to maintain healthy alligator population levels, Federal Governments provide hunting times, tags, and limitations.

If you're someone wanting to learn more about alligator hunting, look no further. In this comprehensive guide, we'll discuss which states in the U.S. facilitate alligator hunting and how this practice helps protect our ecosystem:

A Quick Glance at Alligator Hunting

With over 2 million in Louisiana and 1 million in Florida alone, it's challenging to imagine the reptile was previously endangered.

In 1967, the Government stopped all harvest of alligators, allowing its population to stabilize. However, the number soon exploded, and since 1972, different states have established annual statewide recreational alligator harvests.

Today, the alligators are out of the endangered zone, and the country allows a limited harvest to control the gator population.

Which States Permit Alligator Hunting

The Federal Government cooperates with state agencies to protect the alligator ecosystem. Each concerned state implements stringent guidelines to keep the gators thriving in lakes, rivers, and swimming pools.

Alligator hunting typically occurs in the southeastern states, including:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

Alligator Hunting Seasons and Regulations

State officials across the U.S. recognize that saving a species starts with protecting its habitat. For that reason, the ten southeastern states of the U.S. conduct a controlled and regulated annual harvest to enhance wetland habitat.

Here's a closer look at several different states' rules and regulations:

Louisiana

Louisiana requires hunters to apply for a license to ensure alligator hunting occurs in a controlled and safe environment. The type of licenses you receive depends on your residency status, access to private wetlands, and access to public lakes.

Moreover, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries issues licensed hunters with several alligator harvest tags. Alligator hunters must issue these non-transferable tags before the start of the season and can only receive them for private lands containing sufficient wetland habitat.

Hunting Seasons and Hours

Louisiana's east zone opens on the last Wednesday of August for the next sixty days. On the other hand, its west zone begins on the first Wednesday of September and for the following sixty days.

Furthermore, the state permits harvest between official sunrise and sunset.

Texas

You can hunt for alligators in Texas by registering for a resident or non-resident hunting license. After that, you'll have to use Texas Park and Wildlife's issued CITES tags.

CITES tags ensure that the hunting and trade of wild animals, i.e., alligators, do not endanger or threaten their ecosystem.

Hunting Seasons and Hours

The general hunting season in core counties is 10th September or 30th September. On the other hand, that for non-core counties is between 1st April and 30th June.

Non-core and core counties can hunt from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Florida

Alligator hunting in Florida requires applying for a permit through the Commission's online licensing system. You'll receive a harvest permit and CITES tags if you meet the requirements. 

CITES tags are nontransferable and issued by the executive director. Furthermore, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation implements rules and regulations on how you can hunt for alligators.

Hunting Seasons and Hours

The harvest period in Florida starts from 12th September to 1st November and 15th August to 21st August. Or between 22nd August and 28th August, 29th August to 4th September, and 5th September to 11th September. 

If you're looking for more information on how to obtain your alligator hunting license and the different seasons in every state, Check out this helpful resource.

Return of Unused Tags

All states require alligator hunters to return unused CITES tags within several days of expiration.

For instance, Louisiana requires hunters to resend the tags within 14 days, and Florida within 15 days after the season closes.

Alligator Hunting Best Practices and Safety Tips

Alligators are apex predators, so you must use caution when harvesting them. Here are several safety practices to keep in mind to avoid injury:

  • Don't harass, aggravate, or try to move alligators
  • Keep the line off the deck when pulling in your gator. Or else you might get entangled
  • Remember to wear safety goggles, keep plenty of water, and apply sunscreen

How Does Alligator Hunting Support the Ecosystem?

With the annual alligator hunting harvest reaching 16,547, many people believe hunting these reptiles is inhumane and harmful to the environment. But that's far from the truth!

Alligator hunting occurs primarily because of overpopulation and habitat loss. In addition, harvesting these animals provides the following benefits:

  • Alligator hunters focus on hunting older alligators. Why? Because at this age, the gator stops reproducing and eats a lot of the food source. That means they're worth more and reduce the chances of younger alligators thriving. By exclusively hunting older alligators, hunters make space for smaller ones to grow and reproduce
  • Alligators are territorial reptiles and often fight each other to indicate dominance. During this, most smaller alligators lose, thus depriving them of resources
  • Often, alligators invite themselves to residential areas like pools and even front door steps. While human fatalities are uncommon, seeing an alligator strolling across your backyard can be shocking and a nuisance. Therefore, regulated and sustainable alligator hunting helps control its gator population
  • In most states, the Federal Government reinvests the money made by the sales of alligator licenses in restoring and replenishing its ecosystems and wetlands

How Do People Use the Skin and Meat of Alligators?

Historically, people have harvested alligators for their skin and meat.

The hide and body f this reptile allow people to create sustainable leather goods and sell preserved heads and feet at gift shops.

On the other hand, people use the meat of the gators for cooking fillets, sausages, soups, steaks, hamburger patties, and taco fillings. Plus, you can recreate most recipes for veal, chicken, and fish for alligator meat.

The Bottom Line

Alligator hunting is an effective way of ensuring the gator population continues to spread and thrive. Through stringent guidelines and state regulations, the Government guarantees the generation of gators continues to flourish.

At the same time, alligator hunting allows hunters to earn a living and for brands to create exclusive, fashionable leather products. Unfortunately, most of these items are available at a premium price.

Lucky for you, you can hunt in style with Cypress Brands' sustainable and affordable alligator leather products. Our long-lasting and American-based brand only uses wild-harvested alligator hide to support the protection of their ecosystems.

So, our unique and timeless products keep you looking fashionable while providing the peace of mind that you're investing money in a cause that matters. 

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