Arkansas alligator hunt permits drawn

Arkansas alligator hunt permits drawn
(Source: AGFC)

(KAIT/AGFC) - LITTLE ROCK (KAIT/AGFC) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission conducted the annual alligator hunt permit draw last Friday, July 6, and 108 lucky hunters will be shining the water this September in search of one of Arkansas's largest big game species.

The hunt, scheduled for Sept. 21-24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1, takes place only at night, and participants must locate and subdue their alligator from a boat before dispatching it. No baiting, electronic calls or hooking of alligators is allowed in Arkansas.

All permit winners must attend a hunter orientation class before being issued their permits. Orientation classes will be held from 9 a.m. until noon, Aug. 4, in Hope and Pine Bluff. A makeup orientation will be held from 9 a.m. until noon, Aug. 11 at the AGFC Headquarters in Little Rock.

At orientation, permit holders will be issued their Federal CITES tag, which will enable them to move the alligator out of state for processing or tanning once they have properly checked it. Mark Barbee, wildlife biologist in Monticello who helps coordinate the alligator hunt each year says this is an improvement for this year that should help cut down on paperwork and wait time for successful hunters.

"In years past, you could use an in-state person to process the meat or tan the hide, but people who wanted to get their gator mounted from a shop that was out of state had to wait for their federal permit to be issued," Barbee said. "Now they can just call in the harvest that night, check it online and the check-in process is complete."

Successful private land at-large applicants must provide written landowner permission and a map of their proposed hunt area at orientation.

Barbee says hunters will learn more than just the basic regulations of the hunt at orientation. Class leaders will offer some helpful advice gained through eleven years of alligator hunts in Arkansas.

"It's a nighttime hunt, so safety and familiarity with your equipment is extremely important," Barbee said. "You're also hunting something that can bite back and have a loaded firearm in the boat, so you want to make sure you do it right."

Barbee says aside from safety, some of the most important things a permit holder will learn is in preparation.

"You have to have a plan of action ready to go if you harvest a gator," Barbee said. "You can't just ride around with it for hours before getting it on ice. The gator's watertight hide will trap whatever heat is in it, so you have to do what you can to get it cooled quickly and have a processor you can get it to that next morning if possible."

Another tip offered to hunters is to settle down on the scouting. Getting out ahead of time and finding a gator is fine, but the more you revisit that area, the more likely you are to spook the animal before the day of the hunt.

"Gators are really shy," Barbee said. "We've had a lot of hunters talk about seeing a big gator for multiple trips, but then either couldn't get close to it or couldn't find it the day of the hunt. The more you visit a gator's territory, the wiser you make it to your presence."

The hunt itself is different from what people may have seen on TV. There's no baiting or hooking of the gator beforehand, so hunters must slip up on their alligator and catch it with either a handheld snare or harpoon. The slow, steady approach is followed by an intense bout of chaos once the harpoon hits home or snare snaps closed. Alligators are known to roll, dive and thrash violently during the fight, and the larger the gator, the harder it pulls. Arkansas alligator hunters must completely subdue the gator before finishing it with a shotgun or shotgun shell-loaded bang stick using shot no larger than no. 4 common shot.

Permit winners are allowed up to three assistants during the hunt, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon and dispatch the alligator.
 
2018 alligator permit winners:
Alligator Zone 1 
Donna Ballard - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D'arc WMA
Michael Brown - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D'arc WMA
Rodney Roberts - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D'arc WMA
Elizabeth Bowman - Zone 1 Little River WMA
Matthew Epperson - Zone 1 Little River WMA
Jacob Smith - Zone 1 Little River WMA
Terry Atkins - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Conlton Barnhart - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Deverl Beaver - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Kenneth Bell - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Christopher Carden - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
David Chronister - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Trevor Day - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Jason McCandless - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Josh Meeler - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Brandon Tullis - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Jermie Walston - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Caleb Work - Zone 1 Millwood Lake
Kenton Fox - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA
Kerrie Peterson - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA
Carroll Reneau - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA
Terry Stephens - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA
Josiah Allen - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Jonathan Atkinson - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Kirk Babb - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Christopher Curtis - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Christopher Dillman - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Todd Dobson - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Tyler Feemster - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Ashley Fielding - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Brant Fowler - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Amanda George - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Robert Grace - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Travis Hale - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Ashley Hale - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Matthew Hardy - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
John Harper - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Ryan Haselhuhn - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Terry Hawthorne - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Mark Hodnett - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Jason Long - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Justin Morris - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
William Oxford - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Michael Petty - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Heath Phillips - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Bill Rogers Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Tonya Smreker - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
William Snider - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Terry Vanhoutem - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Cody Vansickle - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Andrew Whatley - Zone 1 Private Land at Large
Evan Williams Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Alligator Zone 2
Michael Faulkner - Zone 2 Private Land at Large
Ashley Monk - Zone 2 Private Land at Large
Bryant Murphy - Zone 2 Private Land at Large
James Parker - Zone 2 Private Land at Large
Stephen Strack Zone 2 Private Land at Large

Alligator Zone 3
Randy Bates - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
David Cissell - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Timothy Clark - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Jared Cole - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Jason Garrett - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Christopher Gillihan - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Tyler Griffin - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Alex Hinson - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Adam Hudson - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Ron Jetton - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Alan King - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Claude McCool - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
James McMahan - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Matthew Miller - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Jamey Moody - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Dylan Oliver - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex 
Ryan Phillips - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Justin Reynolds - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Randy Smith - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Stephen Taylor - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex
Andrew Baldwin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Stephen Beatty - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Jared Boling - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Timothy Clark - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Van Dunn - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Phyllis Gentry - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Taylor Gwin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Brad Harvey - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Nathaniel Hogbin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Victoria Hornbeck - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Nicholas Kelley - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Larry Kling - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
David Lynch - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Lindsey Martin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Andrew McCarty - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
William Minyard - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Christopher Mueller - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Michael Newman - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Robert Owen - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Andrew Runsick - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Sylvia Simon - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Rodger Smith - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Matthew Spoon - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Dalton Swindell - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Zackery Taliaferro - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Rankin Teeter - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
John Webb - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Alvin Wells - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
James Westbrook - Zone 3 Private Land at Large
Bryan Williams - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

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