(KAIT/AGFC) - LITTLE ROCK (KAIT/AGFC) – Applications for the 2018 Arkansas alligator season will be available at www.agfc.com from June 15-midnight June 30. Arkansans now have more opportunity than ever to score an alligator tag, as the south-central portion of the state has been opened to harvest.
Mark Barbee, wildlife biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's Monticello Regional Office, says Zone 2 has been closed to all alligator sport hunting since the hunts began in 2007. It was used as a control area to analyze the impact of hunting on alligator populations in the two open zones (southeast and southwest Arkansas). Now, in the 12th season of modern-day alligator hunting in Arkansas, that control is no longer warranted and justified.
"We've been able to show that Arkansas's alligator population is stable and can support a limited sport hunt," Barbee said. "Opening the zone offers more opportunity for hunters to draw a tag and may potentially address some nuisance alligator situations."
Barbee says nuisance alligator calls have dropped since alligator seasons began, but not necessarily because of population changes.
"I think the hunt gives landowners an opportunity to draw a tag and take the alligator themselves," Barbee said. "Some may also see having a gator on their property as something worth advertising to friends in case they draw a tag as well."
One hundred and seven permits will be available in this year's drawing. Private-land-at-large tags are available through the regular draw application process, but people who are drawn must provide written landowner permission and a map identifying their hunt area at a mandatory orientation.
Each permit authorizes the harvest of one alligator, which must be at least 4 feet long. Alligator hunting is allowed 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise during the approved alligator hunting season dates – Sept. 21-24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1. Each permit holder may have up to three assistants with them on the hunt, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon or dispatch the alligator.
Applicants must be at least 16 years of age the day the hunt begins, and only Arkansas residents or holders of an Arkansas Lifetime Sportsman's Permit may apply. Applicants with 12 or more AGFC violation points are ineligible to apply.
As with the rest of the AGFC's permit application system, alligator-hunt applicants must pay a $5 nonrefundable processing fee at the time of their application. And, just as with the rest of the AGFC's permits, any fees after drawing have been eliminated. Under the previous system, successful permitees were charged a $35 tag fee, which is no longer the case.
Visit www.agfc.com to apply for an alligator hunting permit