Why Does Louisiana Have Alligator Hunting Season?

Did you know why Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries holds an alligator hunting season in the late summer and early fall each year?

According to Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries, Louisiana’s program has been adopted worldwide by conservationists for its effectiveness in keeping alligators and crocodile ecosystems balanced. Gator hunting tags are divided into east and west zones, and each has its own 30 day season. The east zone opens the last Wednesday in August, and the west zone opens the first Wednesday of September.

“The goals of LDWF’s wild alligator harvest program are to manage and conserve Louisiana’s alligators as part of the state’s wetland ecosystem, provide benefits to the species, its habitat and the other species of fish and wildlife associated with alligators.” – louisiana.gov

Gator hunting was outlawed in 1962 due to over harvesting in the 1950s. The state began focusing on preservation efforts through research and ecological testing, resulting in a world class, biologically sound management and harvest program. Alligator populations quickly returned to normal between 1962 and 1972 while this program was implemented, resulting in a boom of hatchlings that quickly matured. It was determined that a new study was needed to manage the population, and Cameron Parish initiated a closely regulated commercial wild alligator harvest in September of 1972, leading to the early versions of the hunting season we now have in place.

Each year, approximately 35,000 hunting tags are given out to 2,000 hunters to maintain this ecological balance, providing significant economic and ecological benefits to our state. Alligators may be harvested from sunrise to sunset only, and may only be hunted with firearms (no shotguns), hook and line, or bow and arrow. Baited hooks must be cast no earlier than 24 hours before the season begins. All unused tags must be returned to the state within 15 days of the end of the season.

September and October is prime gator watching season, so book your tour today by calling 337.228.7880! To read more about gator season in Louisiana, visit: http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/alligator-hunting-regulations-overview.