Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir: Alligator Down
Yes, there are alligators in Stillhouse Lake. Though not numerous, they are often observed on the lower stretch of the Lampasas River than runs into the lake, located in Bell County in Central Texas. Earlier this week, a Texas Game Warden investigation sparked by social media posts on Facebook detailing the killing of an 11-foot alligator has resulted in the arrests of two Killeen men.
Game wardens in Bell County learned about the killing of a large alligator along the Lampasas River above Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir earlier in the week, including alleged details and photos on Facebook. Wardens then used the same social media outlet to solicit information from the public. The game warden Facebook post garnered statewide news media attention, as well as numerous tips from the public that helped in the investigation.
Alligators have been observed in the Lampasas River above Stillhouse Lake for many years and reports of illegal harvest or documented dangerous interactions with the recreating public or local livestock have been extremely rare. Alligator hunting is legal in Bell County during the Spring season established (for non-core counties for alligator management) by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but only from private lands with the permission of the property owner.
Texas Game Wardens later arrested Bradley Gillis, 26, and James Haff, 33, on Class A misdemeanor charges for taking wildlife resources without landowner consent. The pair was booked into the Bell County Jail. Bond was set at $7,500 each.
Alligators may be taken in Texas on private property only during the April 1-June 30 open season outside a 22-county core area in southeast Texas. Alligators may be taken from public waters adjacent to private land by all lawful means except firearms; however, the person taking the alligator and the taking device must be on private property. State law requires that if a person wants to engage in alligator hunting, they must be licensed, have prior landowner permission and a tag must be purchased upon harvest.
TPWD Alligator Hunting Regulations: In Non-Core Counties
- Open season: April 1 – June 30. Alligators may not be taken during this season on any property where alligators were taken during the September season.
- Bag Limit: One alligator per person per license year.
- Alligators may be taken on private property ONLY. Alligators may be taken from public waters by all lawful means EXCEPT FIREARMS; however, the person taking the alligator and the taking device MUST be on private property