Arkansas Gator Hunters Receive More Tags, Set Record

Private landowners take advantage of more hunting tags in the Natural State’s two-week season.

Arkansas Gator Hunters Receive More Tags, Set Record

Photo: Rene Ferrer

Hunters killed a record 202 alligators during the late summer Arkansas season, easily eclipsing the previous mark of 174 set three years ago. Officials with the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission weren’t surprised, as the agency issued more harvest tags this year and private landowners took advantage of it.

“It’s not really indicative of a population explosion,” said AGFC biologist Mark Barbee, who has coordinated the season since its inception in 2007. “We added a few more alligators to the private land quotas this year to let people with alligators on their properties remove them through the hunt instead of it becoming a nuisance wildlife issue.”

According to harvest totals, private land hunters took full advantage of the opportunity, filling all quotas by hunt’s end. Public land hunters, however, filled only half of the allotted permits available to them. Barbee explained the 50 percent success rate isn’t unusual for the public land hunt, however.

“Every year we’ll have hunters who draw the public land permits and hold out for a trophy alligator,” he said. “Some won’t settle for less, and others might wait too long to chase a smaller alligator before the season is over. Either way, we always have some public land hunters who end the season with unfilled tags.”

Alligator hunting is by permit only in Arkansas. The AGFC issued 42 public hunting permits through a public draw system. Hunting is allowed only on designated areas of the Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA, Sulphur River WMA, Little River below Millwood Lake, Millwood Lake, Lake Erling and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex. All other public areas are closed to alligator hunting.

Alligator hunting on private property is managed through a quota system. Anyone may purchase a private land alligator hunting permit, but hunting season will end early as soon as the quota for their Alligator Zone is met. This year’s quotas were 71 in Alligator Management Zone 1 (southwest Arkansas), seven in Alligator Management Zone 2 (south-central Arkansas) and 95 in Alligator Management Zone 3 (southeast Arkansas). The quota for Zone 2 was met during the first weekend of the hunt. The other two zones closed after Saturday night of the second weekend.

Alligator hunting in Arkansas is open from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise during the last two weekends each September. All alligators must be snared or harpooned by hand and subdued before being dispatched. Visit for more information.


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