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Alligator Hunt registration opens Friday

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Tuesday, May 30, 2017, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) announced that the State will open online registration for its 12th Annual Regulated Alligator Hunts, June 2 at 8 a.m.

Registration must be completed by 8 a.m. July 11. 260 Alligator Possession Tags will be distributed among four hunting zones. The administrative fee to apply for a tag is $22.00 and individuals may register one-time per zone. While the tag is free, the selected hunters and their assistants are required to have valid hunting licenses in their possession while hunting.

Only Alabama residents and Alabama lifetime license holders ages 16 years or older may apply for tags. Alabama lifetime license holders may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag even if they have moved out of the State.

Registration for the 2017 Alligator Hunts beginning June 2 at 8:00 am.

On Friday, visit to register.

Hunters will be randomly selected by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag each, and the tags are non-transferable. 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 does not register for the hunt in a given year or is selected for a hunt, the preference point status is forfeited.

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Applicants can check their selection status on July 12 after 12:00pm. If you are win a tag you must confirm your acceptance online by 8 a.m. July 19. After that date, alternates will be notified to fill any vacancies.

Applicants drawn for the hunt must attend a mandatory zone-specific Alligator Training Course provided by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. If hunters have attended a previous training course, they may be exempted from this requirement.

If a hunter wins Alligator Possession Tag at two or more locations, the hunters must choose which location they would like to hunt.

There will be 150 alligator tags awarded in the Southwest Alabama Zone. That includes private and public waters in Baldwin, Mobile, Washington, Clarke and Monroe counties that lie east of US Highway 43 and south of US Highway 84.

There will be forty tags awarded in the Southeast Alabama Zone. Gators can be taken in private and public waters in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Russell counties (excluding public Alabama state waters in Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries).

There will be 50 gator tags awarded in the West Central Alabama Zone. Monroe County (north of US Highway 84) and Wilcox and Dallas counties.

The Lake Eufaula Zone will have 20 gator tags awarded. The Eufaula Zone will be only in the Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries, south of Alabama Highway 208 at Omaha Bridge (and excludes the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge).

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The American Alligator (alligator mississippiensis) is the largest reptile in North America and can exceed 14 feet in length and 1,000 pounds. 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.

See ADCNR for dates and times.

In 1938, Alabama became the first State to protect alligators by outlawing these unlimited harvests. Other states soon followed and in 1967, the US 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 population has continued to expand to the point that the population will not be adversely affected by a tightly controlled and regulated recreational hunting season.

Alabama is world-renowned for its numerous sporting opportunities. In addition to alligator, our State boasts the highest deer population density in the country; as well as plentiful turkeys, doves, squirrels, geese, quail; hogs, coyote, rabbits, and other game species plus freshwater and saltwater fishing.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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