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Alligator Hunt Training Video

Restoration of the American alligator is a national conservation success story in which Alabama played a lead role. Unregulated alligator harvest throughout the South in the 1920s, 30s and 40s threatened the species with extinction.  In 1938, Alabama took action and became the first state to protect them. Other states followed our lead and, in 1967, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service placed the American alligator on the Endangered Species List. Two decades of protection enabled the species to rebound. By 1987, it was removed from the Endangered Species List but retained as a federally protected species.

Alabama's alligator population has grown to the extent that they pose a nuisance in many areas. Implementing a regulated alligator hunt on a small scale is an important step toward controlling populations and better managing this unique reptile.

Alligator Hunting season and regulations

A hunting season for American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) will be open in four areas of Alabama. The first hunt will be the Southwest Zone spanning Baldwin and Mobile Counties, as well as portions of Washington, Clarke, and Monroe Counties. The second Southeast Zone hunt will include: Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Russell Counties, excluding Alabama state public waters of Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) and its navigable tributaries. The third hunt area is the West Central Zone spanning Dallas and Wilcox Counties, and the portion of Monroe County north of U.S. Highway 84. The fourth hunt encompasses the Lake Eufaula Zone which includes Alabama state public waters in the Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) and its navigable tributaries.

The rules will govern according to the following restrictions and regulations:

Locations:
SOUTHWEST ZONE
Private and public waters in Baldwin and Mobile Counties and private and public waters in Washington, Clarke, and Monroe Counties that lie east of U.S. Highway 43 and south of U.S. Highway 84.

SOUTHEAST ZONE
Private and public waters in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Russell Counties (excluding Alabama state public waters in Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) and its navigable tributaries).
 
WEST CENTRAL ZONE
Private and public waters in Monroe (north of U.S. Highway 84), Wilcox, and Dallas Counties.  

LAKE EUFAULA ZONE
Alabama state public waters in the Walter F. George Reservoir (Lake Eufaula) and its navigable tributaries, south of Hwy 208, Omaha Bridge (excluding Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge).

Dates: 
SOUTHWEST ZONE - From 8:00 p.m. August 10, 2017 until 6:00 a.m. August 13, 2017 and from 8:00 p.m. August 17, 2016 until 6:00 a.m. August 20, 2017.

SOUTHEAST ZONE– From 8:00 p.m. August 12, 2017 until 6:00 a.m. September 4, 2017.

WEST CENTRAL ZONE - From 8:00 p.m. August 10, 2017 until 6:00 a.m. August 13, 2017 and from 8:00 p.m. August 17, 2017 until 6:00 a.m. August 20, 2017.

LAKE EUFAULA ZONE From sunset August 18, 2017 until sunrise October 2, 2017.

Hunting Hours:
Southwest, Southeast, and West Central Zones - 8:00 PM till 6:00 AM.  
Lake Eufaula Zone - Daytime and Nighttime Hours.

Permits:
SOUTHWEST ZONE
One hundred and fifty (150) people will be randomly drawn by computer to be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag. Possession tags are non-transferable.

SOUTHEAST ZONE
Forty (40) people will be randomly drawn by computer to be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag. Possession Tags are non-transferable.

WEST CENTRAL ZONE
Fifty (50) people will be randomly drawn by computer to be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag. Possession Tags are non-transferable.

LAKE EUFAULA ZONE
Twenty (20) people will be randomly drawn by computer to be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag.  Possession permits are non-transferable.

If a person is selected for an Alligator Possession Tag at two or more locations, they will be allowed to choose which location they would like to hunt. The other spot(s) not chosen will be filled from the Alternates list.

Bag Limit:
Each person receiving an Alligator Possession Tag will be allowed to harvest one (1) alligator. Alligators harvested in the Lake Eufaula Zone must be a minimum of eight (8) feet in length.

Persons Eligible:
Only Residents and Lifetime Hunting License holders of the State of Alabama who are sixteen (16) years of age or older may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag (see License Requirements). Non-residents may only participate as alligator hunting assistants (see License Requirements). The permittee and all individuals assisting during the hunt must possess a valid Alabama hunting license.

Applications:
Applications for Alligator Possession Tags will be accepted only at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Website at http://www.outdooralabama.com/registration-instructions beginning June 2, 2017, at 8:00 AM. A minimal administrative fee will be charged for each hunt area application submitted. There is no charge for the Alligator Possession Tag. Registration will end July 11, 2017 at 8:00 AM. The drawings for each area will be held on July 12. All applicants will be able to check for their results on http://www.outdooralabama.com/registration-instructions. Selected applicant’s acceptance is required by 8:00 AM on July 19. If a tag is not accepted, the next name on the list will be notified and given 24 hours to respond. These notifications will continue until all vacancies have been obligated. Only one (1) application shall be allowed per person per zone.   

Preference Points:
The random selection process will utilize a preference point system. The system increases the likelihood of repeat registrants being selected for a hunt as long as the applicant continues to apply.  The more years an applicant participates in the registration, the higher the likelihood of being selected. If an applicant ceases to register for the hunt in a given year or is selected and accepts a possession tag for a hunt, the preference point status is forfeited.  

Mandatory Training Course:
For the Southeast Alabama and Lake Eufaula hunt venues, ALL successful applicants will be required to attend and complete the Alligator Training Course provided by the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries staff offered in Eufaula. If you are selected for the Southwest Alabama hunt and have attended the course at Five Rivers, as a permittee or alternate, in prior years, you may be exempted from this requirement. All others will be required to attend this year’s class at Five Rivers in Spanish Fort.  If you are selected for the West Central Alabama hunt and have attended the course at the Alabama Farmer’s Coop in Selma, as a permittee or alternate, in prior years, you may be exempted from this requirement. All others will be required to attend and complete this year’s class at Alabama Farmers Coop in Selma.

SOUTHWEST ALABAMA
Course will be held twice on July 29th at the Five Rivers complex in Spanish Fort, AL. The first class will be from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon CDT. The second class will be from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM. Upon completion of the course, drawn applicants will be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag.

SOUTHEAST ALABAMA and LAKE EUFAULA
Course will be held on August 5th at the Wallace Community College  - Sparks Campus in Eufaula, AL. The class will be from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon CDT in the ATN auditorium (Building K on Map). Upon completion of the course, drawn applicants will be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag. 

WEST CENTRAL ALABAMA
Course will be held on August 5th at the Alabama Farmers COOP in Selma, Alabama. The class will be from 10:00 AM until 12:00 Noon CDT. Upon completion of the course, drawn applicants will be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag.

Capture and Dispatch Methods:
FOR ALL HUNT ZONES 

Alligators must be captured and brought adjacent to the boat, bank or dock prior to shooting or otherwise dispatching the animal. It is unlawful to shoot at or kill an unrestrained alligator. Restrained is defined as an alligator that has a noose or snare secured around the neck or leg in a manner that the alligator is controlled. Capture methods are restricted to hand-held snares, snatch hooks (hand-held or rod/reel), harpoons (with attached line), and bowfishing equipment (with line attached from arrow to bow or crossbow). No use of bait is allowed.

All alligators must be dispatched immediately after capture or released. Firearms used for dispatching an alligator are restricted to shotguns with shot size no larger than #4 and bangsticks chambered in .38 caliber or larger or shotgun (using #4 shot or smaller). All shotguns and bangsticks must be cased and unloaded at all times until a restraining line has been attached to the alligator. Except as otherwise provided herein, no other firearm or ammunition may be in possession of the permittee or hunting party. No firearm or bangstick may be discharged within 100 yards of any residence, building, boat ramp, or occupied campsite in Mobile/Baldwin Counties and on the Alabama River, Claiborne Lake, William “Bill” Dannelly Reservoir and Lake Walter F. George (Lake Eufaula). The Temporary Alligator Possession Tag, supplied by Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, must be attached to the alligator’s tail, as demonstrated in training course, immediately after being dispatched and prior to moving or transporting.

Mandatory Check Station:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

All permitted hunters must have on their person a valid Alabama Hunting License. Each permittee selected to receive an Alligator Possession Tag will be pre-registered and issued a Temporary Alligator Possession Tag at the conclusion of the training session prior to the hunt. The permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag will be affixed to the harvested alligator by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries personnel at the check station. All successful permittees must bring their harvested alligators from this zone to the check station, located at the District V Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Office between the hours of 8:00 PM till 7:00 AM on the days of the hunts.

SOUTHEAST and LAKE EUFAULA ZONES

All permitted hunters must have on their person a valid Alabama Hunting License. Each permittee selected to receive an Alligator Possession Tag will be pre-registered and issued a Temporary Alligator Possession Tag at the conclusion of the training session prior to the hunt. The permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag must be obtained from a Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries district office within 10 business days of the conclusion of the hunt.  Hunters must bring alligator hides, their Temporary Alligator Possession Tag, and information regarding length, weight, girth, and sex in order to receive their permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag. Alligator harvest record sheets detailing the required information will be issued at the training session. Upon validation of alligator harvest data, a permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag will be attached to the alligator by WFF personnel.

WEST CENTRAL ZONE

All permitted hunters must have on their person a valid Alabama Hunting License. Each permittee selected to receive an Alligator Possession Tag will be pre-registered and issued a Temporary Alligator Possession Tag at the conclusion of the training session prior to the hunt. The permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag will be affixed to the harvested alligator by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries personnel at the check station at Roland Cooper State Park. All successful permittees must bring their harvested alligator from this zone to the check station between the hours of 8:00 PM till 7:00 AM on the days of the hunts.

Harvest Reporting and Tagging:

SOUTHWEST and WEST CENTRAL ZONES

All harvested alligators must be validated at the designated check station by posted closing time. The Temporary Alligator Possession Tag must be attached to the alligator immediately after being dispatched and prior to moving. Upon validation at the check station, a Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag will be attached to the alligator.

SOUTHEAST and LAKE EUFAULA ZONES

The permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag must be obtained from a Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries district office within 10 business days of the conclusion of the hunt.  Hunters must bring alligator hides, their Temporary Alligator Possession Tag, and information regarding length, weight, girth, and sex in order to receive their permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag. Alligator harvest record sheets detailing the required information will be issued at the training session. Upon validation of alligator harvest data, a permanent Federal CITES Alligator Possession Tag will be attached to the alligator by WFF personnel.

License Requirements:
Alligator Hunting Permittee: All Alligator Hunting Permittees must have a government issued picture identification and a resident hunting license as required by Alabama law. A Temporary Alligator Possession Tag will be issued following the conclusion of the workshop.

Alligator Hunting Assistant: All assistants in the hunting party sixteen (16) years of age or older are required to purchase and have on their person a valid Alabama hunting license as required by Alabama law. Any non-residents in the hunting party sixteen (16) years of age or older are required to have a valid Alabama hunting license. All persons in the boat or assisting boats are considered Hunt Permittees or Hunting Assistants. All funds are non-refundable.

General:
Nothing in this regulation prohibits the possession of handguns by lawfully authorized persons for personal protection, provided the handguns are not used to hunt or take or to attempt to take wildlife in violation of law.

All boating and hunting laws and regulations must be followed.

Statutory Authority:  Code of Alabama 1975, §§ 9-2-7, 9-2-8, and 9-2-12

Penalty:  As provided by law.

5/22/2006 (ER); 9/15/2006; 8/16/2007(ER); 7/20/2009(ER); 10/15/2009; 8/10/2010(ER); 11/11/10; 6/17/2011(ER); 10/1/2011; 6/22/2012(ER); 9/25/2012; 7/31/2013(ER); 10/14/2013; 06/01/2015(ER); 8/14/2015; 5/9/2016(E); 5/20/2016(E).

 

Amanda Stokes and her party (John Stokes, Savanah, Kevin and Parker Jenkins) from Thomaston, AL hauled in this 15 foot, 1011.5-pound gator from the waters near Millers Ferry Saturday morning, August 16, 2014. This is the largest gator to come out of Alabama during a regulated alligator hunt.