Most folks enjoy seeing alligators from time to time, but the big reptiles can become problems where people and alligators come together. Regulated alligator hunting can be used to manage the population in an area, but sometimes individual animals can become an issue. These animals are referred to as nuisance alligators. In Texas, nuisance alligators were once contracted through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), but new rules adopted by the department will now allow landownersto contract directly with nuisance alligator hunters.
Over the past 20 years, the once threatened alligator population in Texas has rebounded spectacularly. Increased suburban, urban, an industrial development in adn adjacent to coastal counties, particularly along the mid- and upper coast, have resulted in an increased number of nuisance alligator complaints, especially in areas biologically characterized by diminishing or little to no alligator habitat.
The new nuisance alligator hunting protocol will authorize a permitted control hunter to contract directly with landowner or landowner’s agent, including a political subdivision, governmental entity, or property owner’s association, for a fee or other compensation for the removal of nuisance alligators. This will streamline the removal of alligators, allowing landowners to directly contact certified gator hunters.
The new protocol requires that each nuisance control hunter complete a certification process that includes an application to TPWD, a department administered course and a test on nuisance control. Reporting requirements will ensure that only bona fide nuisance alligators are taken by permitted control hunters. An annual nuisance alligator permit fee will also be required.
Prior to the new rules, the TPWD had contracted with qualified individuals for the removal of nuisance alligators. Each hunter bid for the privilege to conduct nuisance control activities in a specific territory, agreeing to pay a per foot price to the department for every alligator removed. In return, the alligator control hunter was allowed to keep the alligator and could sell the skin and meat. All removals were authorized on a case by case basis by the department. The new rules will save TPWD time, money and still get the job done effectively. Persons interested in the nuisance alligator hunting and control program should contact biologist Amos Cooper at 409-736-3625.