In Texas, the highest alligator populations are found along the eastern portion of the Gulf Coast between Houston and Louisiana. However, a good number of alligators can also be found along the coastal prairies down towards Corpus Christi, as well as scattered gators throughout east Texas that are associated with rivers and major creek drainages. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department estimates that over 250,000 wild alligators reside in the state.
Fall alligator hunting is allowed in Angelina, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler and Victoria counties. These counties are referred to by the state of Texas as core alligator counties. The open season is from September 10 through September 30. This hunting season applies on any property, regardless of county, for which the department has issued hide tags directly to the landowner.
In all other Texas counties, referred to as non-core, the open season for alligators is from April 1 through June 30. Their general provisions include that:
- NO person may possess an untagged alligator hide or undocumented alligator part except as provided by the Parks and Wildlife Code or regulations of the department.
- NO person may hunt an alligator in this state unless that person is in possession of a valid hunting license.
- NO person may hunt an alligator in a core county or on a special property unless the person is in physical possession of at least one valid, unused alligator hide tag per taking device employed by the person.
- In noncore counties (except on special properties) alligators may be taken ONLY on private property and ONLY with the consent of the owner of the property.
- On all properties that are not special properties or in core counties, no person may employ more than one taking device at any time to hunt alligators.
Alligator bag limits are as follows:
- Core counties: One alligator per unused hide tag in possession; or
- Noncore counties: One alligator per person per season.
The core county bag limit applies to any property, regardless of county, for which the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued hide tags directly to the landowner. On special properties, the core county bag limit applies.
Also, effective on September 1, 2005, an alligator hunter’s license is not required to hunt alligators in Texas. Under the terms of House Bill 2026, enacted by the Texas Legislature and signed by the governor, the alligator hunter’s license is abolished and hunters may take alligators under any hunting license except the nonresident spring turkey license or nonresident banded bird hunting license.