2019 is Mississippi’s 2nd largest alligator haul; officials say hunters are getting better

2019 is Mississippi’s 2nd largest alligator haul; officials say hunters are getting better

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - At 922 alligators harvested, 2019 is not a record year, but it comes in second to 2015 when 980 alligators were brought in by hunters.

And the sport is definitely growing. Sam Sandifer works at Van’s Sporting Goods, and he said he’s seen a lot of business this year.

“Its been more than it has been the last couple of years and we’ve sold out of just about everything we’ve had, so we’re getting ready to stock up for next year,” said Sandifer.

The most applications for alligator hunting are in the Pearl River/Reservoir Zone, the West Central Zone, and the Southwestern zone. More specific locations weren’t available since people like to keep their lucky fishing holes to themselves.

Ricky Flynt, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks’ Alligator Program Coordinator, said that the rising numbers each alligator season shows is that gator hunters are becoming more adept.

“Hunter success seems to be getting just a little better every year and we expect that as more hunters are involved year after year, they learn different places to go, how to hunt, how to be successful in getting these alligators in,” Flynt explained.

Those developing hunting skills can also be seen in the percentages, Flynt said.

“We see the success rate this year at almost 75 percent, rather than the previous years where we’ve seen 67-70 percent,” he said.

The Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks tell us that there is no danger to the population of alligators after a big gator hunting season.

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