The Lucky Few Prepare for Chance at Gator Hunting

Animal Control gets a steady stream of calls for alligator nuisance problems, but soon the hunting season will help with abatement.  Gator season opens in three weeks.  This Saturday, hunters underwent a special training class for the dos and don’ts of gator hunting.

“It’s a difficult sport, an alligator, in my opinion, is actually smarter than deer,” said Phil Walters, Professional Hunter.

Interestingly this is a hunting sport for night owls. Hunting is only allowed between 8 pm and 6 am.

“First, you got to find an alligator,” said Chris Nix, Alabama Wildlife, and Freshwater Fisheries Biologist.

Traditionally hunters use a hooking line with a treble hook at the end, along with a harpoon.

“As you go to harpoon the gator, this head will come off and go under the gators hide, and once they’re under there they don’t come out,” said Walters.

Then a snare is used to get that alligator up to the boat.  And then there are only two legal ways to kill it; one is with a shot gun, the other, with a bang stick.

“And it’s actually fired by compression,” said Nix.

The alligator spinal cord has to be severed to ensure it cannot move or possibly attack.  So will this year be one for a lot of good catches? In the latest survey done by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries roughly 1300 alligators were spotted.

“There’s no way for me to tell you how many alligators is out there, but everything I do as a biologist I look at trends, and the trends of the population here in the Mobile Tensaw Delta is stable to increase,” said Nix.

For now, that means there’s room for 150 trophies of sorts to bring home.

A hunter’s permit as well a gator tag are necessary to participate in this year’s season.

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