Registration for 2015 Alligator Hunts Opens June 2

Alligator

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) will open registration for the state’s 10th annual regulated alligator hunts June 2 at 8 a.m. The total number of Alligator Possession Tags will increase this year from 240 to 260. Also new for the 2015 alligator season is a separate hunting zone for Lake Eufaula and preference points for those who applied but were not selected the previous year. Registration must be completed online by 8 a.m. July 14. The hunts will take place starting in mid-August.

To register for the 2015 alligator hunts, visitwww.outdooralabama.com/registration-instructions during the registration period.

Hunting zones, total tags issued per zone and hunt dates are as follows:

Southwest Alabama Zone – 150 Tags
Locations: 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.
Dates: 8 p.m. August 13 until 6 a.m. August 16; and from 8 p.m. August 20 until 6 a.m. August 23.

Southeast Alabama Zone – 40 Tags
Locations: Private and public waters in Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston and Russell counties (excluding public state waters in Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries).
Dates: 8 p.m. August 15 until 6 a.m. Sept. 7.

West Central Alabama Zone – 50 Tags
Locations: Private and public waters in Monroe (north of U.S. Highway 84), Wilcox and Dallas counties.
Dates: 8 p.m. August 13 until 6 a.m. August 16; and from 8 p.m. August 20 until 6 a.m. August 23.

Lake Eufaula Zone – 20 Tags
Location: Public state waters only in the Walter F. George Reservoir/Lake Eufaula and its navigable tributaries, south of Alabama Highway 208 at Omaha Bridge (excludes Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge).
Dates: Sunrise August 14 until sunrise Oct. 5.

An 8-foot minimum length requirement is in effect for alligators harvested the in Lake Eufaula Zone. There is no minimum length for hunts in the other zones.

The administrative fee to apply for an Alligator Possession Tag is $22 and individuals may register one time per zone. 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. While the tag is free, selected hunters and their assistants are required to have a valid hunting license in their possession while hunting.

Hunters will be randomly chosen by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag each, and the tags are non-transferable. If selected for an Alligator Possession Tag at two or more locations, hunters must choose which location they would like to hunt. The slot for locations not chosen will be filled from a list of randomly selected alternates.

A preference point system will be implemented this year to increase the likelihood of repeat registrants being selected for a hunt if they have not been selected before. For the 2015 hunt, preference points will be given to hunters who applied in 2014 but were not selected. The system increases the likelihood of a repeat applicant being selected for an alligator hunt as long as they continue to apply. The more years an applicant participates in the registration process without being selected, the higher the likelihood of being selected the following year. If an applicant ceases to register for the hunt in a given year or is selected for a hunt, the preference point status is forfeited.

Applicants will be able to check their status at outdooralabama.com after the drawing takes place July 14. Those selected to receive a tag must complete an online acceptance by 8 a.m. July 21. After that date, alternates will be notified to fill any vacancies. Each person receiving an Alligator Possession Tag will be allowed to harvest one alligator.

Hunting hours are 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Southwest, Southeast and West Central Zones. For the Lake Eufaula Zone, hunting is allowed at any time from sunrise August 14 until sunrise Oct. 5. All Alabama hunting and boating regulations must be followed.

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the largest reptile in North America. A fully mature alligator may grow to 14 feet in length and weigh as much as 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. In 1938, it is believed that Alabama was the first state to protect alligators by outlawing these unlimited 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 population has continued to grow.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through four divisions: Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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