JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -The 2019 alligator season is officially open. And some hunters were out on the water for the start of the season right at noon. It’s the 15th season and several teams are hopeful they can bring in a record breaking gator.
With some years of experience under their belts, Mississippi gator hunters are getting even smarter when it comes to how to hook the big guys. In fact, part of that strategy includes scouting out the gators before the season even opens.
“We went scouting a couple of weeks ago," said Sterling Walker. "We know where some big ones are but we ain’t going to tell nobody.”
And the excitement’s been building.
“I haven’t slept in two nights," noted Bill Parks. "Just like a kid at Christmas.”
There are seven zones throughout the state and a total of 960 permits were offered this year. Some changes this year include Eagle Lake closed off to the hunt due to record flooding and some of the boat ramps along the River and in the backwater area are closed due to siltation, again from the flooding.
Water, river levels and weather can all impact how many gators are harvested. But there’s still a chance someone could bring in a record breaker.
“14 ft and a half inch I think is our length record," explained MDWFP Alligator Program Coordinator Ricky Flynt. "About 826 lbs is the weight record. With records now, those levels of records now have reached a point where it’s going to be pretty hard to break those. So, last year was the first year in a long time that we didn’t have a record broken.”
Team Gatorslayer has hooked record breakers twice before.
“We’ve told people it’s kind of like when a bull comes out of the shoot at the rodeo," said Elizabeth Greer. "I would think it would feel the same way.”
And they say they keep coming back for more of the adrenaline rush.
“You’re in for a trip because they’re mad and they want it off and they’re going to do anything they can," added Greer. "And you just have to hold on and be ready.”
The season will run till noon on September 9.
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