It appears the alligator hunting in Mississippi was quite good during the 2015 season! The 2015 Mississippi public water alligator hunting season closed on September 7 and the private lands hunting season closed on September 21. These gator seasons combined for a new harvest record, a lot of large lizards ended up in boats.
To increase participation among permitted hunters during this Mississippi’s hunting season, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) changed the sale of public water alligator hunting permits this year to a first come, first served process. In 2013 and 2014, only 75 percent of eligible permit holders participated, with a harvest of 671 and 682 alligators, respectively. Preliminary harvest reports and surveys submitted for 2015 indicate a record harvest of over 960 alligators and over 90 percent participation among permitted hunters.
The online sale of public water permits was conducted on July 14 with a high volume of customers competing for one of the 920 available permits. When the alligator permit sale goal was met, number of electronic bank transactions were still in process. This resulted in extra permits sold. After careful evaluation, the MDWFP determined that the extra permits would not negatively impact Mississippi’s alligator population and decided to honor all permits that were sold.
MDWFP attributes this year’s record alligator harvest to increased hunter experience and their knowledge of good hunting areas. In addition, weather conditions were exceptionally conducive to hunting, and the moon phase became more favorable in the final days of the hunting season.