Arkansas Gator Hunters Enjoy Successful Season

Arkansas officials reported 157 alligators killed by hunters during the state’s late summer season in six public areas and on private lands.

Arkansas Gator Hunters Enjoy Successful Season

Arkansas' late summer alligator season was a huge success, with 157 animals harvested on public and private lands. Photo: Pfell

Arkansas hunters killed 157 alligators during the state’s two-week season last autumn. The hunts are nighttime-only and are on private lands and limited public lands. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials said 43 public hunting permits were issued. Hunting is allowed only on public lands in designated areas of the Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMASulphur River WMALittle River below Millwood Lake, Millwood Lake and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex. All other public areas were closed to alligator hunting. 

Mark Barbee, assistant regional manager in the AGFC’s Monticello Regional Office who coordinates the hunt, said the season went very smoothly. He added that all successful hunters were issued CITES tags to complete the federal requirements of their harvest. Alligator hunting is overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the AGFC must follow survey and harvest protocols each year to maintain Arkansas’s alligator hunting season.

He said some of the public land tags were unfilled, but hunters did so by choice.

“All of the public land hunters I’ve talked to pretty much saw gators,” Barbee said in a press release. “But they tend to hold out for a little larger one. Many have told me in the past that they passed on 8- and 9-foot gators, hoping for a 10-footer or better, and time ran out on them. But they always say they had a great experience and an opportunity to harvest.”

In addition to public hunting opportunities, hunters who owned or had permission to hunt on private lands in the three Alligator Management Zones were able to hunt through a quota-based system similar to private land elk hunting and bear hunting in Arkansas. They were required to obtain a permit through the AGFC’s online licensing system. Harvested gators had to be reported as soon as possible to the AGFC. 

In Zone 1, 64 alligators were killed and 13 came from public land. In Zone 2, six alligators were killed on private lands; no public land opportunities are available in Zone 2. Zone 3 saw the highest harvest, with 87 alligators taken (11 from public land). 

Arkansas holds its alligator draw in summer. The season is open only to state residents.


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