Permits for Alabama's first alligator hunting season become available online Thursday
Published 1:48 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Gov. Bob Riley has announced that hunters who are interested in participating in Alabama's first-ever regulated alligator hunting season can begin applying online Thursday at 8 a.m.
Applications will be taken at www.outdooralabama.com. from then until Aug. 7 at 7 a.m.
Fifty hunters will be randomly chosen by computer for an Alligator Possession Tag. The cost to apply is $6. Individuals may register only once.
According to Commissioner Barnett Lawley of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, news of Alabama's first alligator hunting season has generated positive feedback across the state.
The story of the American alligator is one of both drastic decline and complete recovery. It is also story of Alabama and the U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service, and it is one of the more prominent success stories of the nation's endangered species program.
In the early 20th century, the American alligator was threatened to become extinct due in large part to unregulated alligator harvesting throughout the South.
In 1938, Alabama became the first state to protect alligators by outlawing these harvests. Other states soon followed and in 1967 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed the American alligator on the Endangered Species list. By 1987, the species was removed from the Endangered Species list and the alligator has continued to grow in population.
Only Alabama residents age 16 years or older may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag. Only licensed hunters may apply for the hunt. Alabama residents who do not possess a 2005-06 hunting license must purchase a 2006-07 license on or after Aug. 1 and then apply online for the hunt.
Permits are non-transferable. All successful applicants must complete the Alligator Training Course provided by Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division staff. The course will be held twice on August 18 in Spanish Fort. Drawn applicants will be eligible for an Alligator Possession Tag upon completion of the course.
Each person receiving an Alligator Possession Tag will be allowed to harvest one alligator six feet in length or longer. The hunt will take place at night, from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. All Alabama hunting and boating regulations must be followed. Additional details can be found online at www.outdooralabama.com.
The American alligator is the largest reptile in North America. A fully mature alligator may grow to 14' in length and weigh as much as 1,000 lbs. Known for its prized meat and leather, the species was threatened with extinction due to unregulated harvest during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. No regulations existed in those days to limit the number of alligators harvested.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Parks, State Lands, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR visit www.outdooralabama.com.
For more information, contact the Governor's Press Office at 334-242-7150.