Wildlife & Hunting

Public Waters Alligator Hunting Info

Alligator season opens on the last Friday in August each year. Permits for alligator hunting are by Special Permit only.

(REQUIRED: permit holders must have a valid MS hunting license to apply). 

  • To be eligible to purchase an alligator hunting permit you must be at least 16 years of age and possess one of the following valid resident licenses prior to July 19 to be eligible: Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or a Lifetime License. 


Alligator Hunting Season and Permit Process Approved for 2018

April 19, 2018

JACKSON – The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks approved rule changes for the 2018 alligator hunting season on public waters and private lands in Mississippi on April 18th.  The statewide public waters season will include opportunities in specific public waterways.  A total of 930 permits will be available within 7 hunting zones across the state for the 10-day season, August 31 – September 10, 2018. The process for issuing permits will remain the same as in 2017, an electronic application process followed by a random drawing of applicants. Applications will be accepted from June 1-7, 2018 via the MDWFP website. The first drawing will take place on or about June 13. Drawn applicants will be notified by email with a link to purchase their permit with a 48-hour deadline. Upon the purchase deadline, any unpurchased permits from the first drawing will be entered into a second drawing of available applicants. Drawn applicants from the second drawing will also be notified by email with a link to purchase their permit with a 48-hour deadline. A credit card or debit card is required to complete the online permit purchase.

To be eligible to apply for an alligator hunting permit you must be a resident of Mississippi, at least 16 years of age at the time of application.  Applications will be free, but electronic processing fees will be required. Applicants may only apply in one alligator hunting zone of their choice.  Applications will be accepted on-line or at any point of sale location where Mississippi hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Applicants must have one of the following licenses to be eligible to apply: a valid Mississippi Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or Lifetime License. A voluntary Alligator Hunting Training Course will be offered for permit holders on July 14th at 1:00 PM at Roosevelt State Park, Livingston Center. 

A private lands alligator hunting season is available to landowners whose properties meet specific qualifications within 34 open counties.  Grenada County has been added for the private lands season for 2018. Applications and instructions for private lands permits are available online. Applications with all required documents are accepted by mail to the Jackson Central Office beginning May 1 and must be submitted by July 1.

The Permitting Process is Complete for 2018, as of June 27, 2018.  Permit Packets have been mailed to all permit holders as of June 29. If you purchased a permit during the permitting process and have not received your packet as of July 7, please call our office at 601-432-2300 to notify us.  


Regulations and Hunting Zone Information:



  • Northwest - 40 permits
  • Northeast - 130 permits
  • West Central - 180 permits
  • Pearl River/Ross Barnett - 90 permits
  • Southwest - 180 permits
  • South Central - 150 permits
  • Southeast - 160 Permits 

Alligator Season Harvest History 

Harvest Summaries for Public Waters Seasons  (View here)

Public Water Harvest Summaries - 2012-2016 (View Here)






Number of Permits




# Those Permitted Who Participated

756 (82.7%)

804  (91.2%)

997  (87.5%)

# People Participating




Avg. Hunting Party

3.8 people

3.8 people

3.7 people

Successful Hunters

519  (68.7%)

552  (69.34%)

693  (69.51%)

Alligators Harvested




<7 feet / >7 feet long

57% /43%  (423/318)

52% / 48% (412/372)

53% / 47% (524/458)

Caught and Released




Hours Spent Hunting/Gator Harvested







Download the 2018 Alligator Hunting Guide

Where can you hunt on a public waters permit?

Each permit is limited to a specific hunting zone.

There are seven geographical public water alligator hunting zones.

  1. NORTHEAST (excluding all portions of the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone) 
  7. PEARL RIVER/ROSS BARNETT (see Regulations for complete description) 
  • ONLY "public waterways" within each zone, as defined by MDEQ, will be open to hunting. No other public water will be open to alligator hunting, except the lakes within the Northeast, Northwest, West Central, and Southwest Zone, listed specifically below.   To view which "public waterways" in each zone are open to hunting, view the maps below.
  • Including:
    • Crystal Lake (Rankin Co.) in the Northeast Zone
    • Okatibbee Lake (Lauderdale Co.) in the Northeast Zone
    • Lake Ferguson (Washington County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Beulah Lake (Bolivar County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Lake Whittington (Bolivar County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Eagle Lake (Warren County) in the West Central Zone
    • Chotard Lake (Warren and Issaquena Counties) in the West Central Zone
    • Albemarle Lake (Issaquena County) in the West Central Zone
    • Tennessee Lake (Issaquena County) in the West Central Zone
    • Lake Washington (Washington County) in the West Central Zone
    • Bee Lake (Holmes County) in the West Central Zone
    • Little Eagle Lake (Humphreys County) in the West Central Zone
    • Dump Lake (Yazoo County) in the West Central Zone
    • Lake George (Yazoo County) in the West Central Zone
    • Tchula Lake (Holmes Co.) in the West Central Zone * NEW 2018
    • Lake Mary (Wilkinson County) in the Southwest Zone



For those permitted in the following MS Pubic Water Zones:

  1. Northeast
  2. Northwest
  3. West Central
  4. Southwest
  5. South Central
  6. Southeast


  1. Legal public water for public water alligator hunters include any public waterway, as designated by MDEQ, and all associated portions of each drainage that are not privately owned and have navigable access from the designated waterway.
  2. For those who hunt on or near state borderline waters, such as the Mississippi River, lower Pearl River (in Pearl River and Hancock Counties), Eagle Lake, Chotard Lake, Albermarle Lake, Tennessee Lake, Lake Ferguson, Lake Whittington, and Lake Beulah,
  3. BE ADVISED, to cross the state border while pursuing alligators into any water that is not part of Mississippi will be considered illegal alligator hunting by the adjoining state (i.e. AR & LA). It shall be the hunter's responsibility to be aware of state borders.


NOTICE Public waterways VS. Public Water - Do not confuse the two terms, in regards to the Public Waters Alligator Season. ONLY the public waters of the state designated as "Public Waterways" by the MS Dept. of Environmental Quality are open to alligator hunting.  The only exceptions are the lakes listed above.  Hunters must become familiar with the rivers designated on the MDEQ website (see link above).  Not all "public waters" are considered as "public waterways." 

NOTE:  State Boundary Line Waters: There are NO reciprocal license agreements with adjacent states (AR & LA) for alligator hunting. Therefore, anyone licensed to legally hunt alligators in MS may only hunt in MS waters.  It is the hunter's responsibility to know his/her location in regards to state boundaries.  Reciprocal license agreements allow hunters/fishermen to legally hunt/fish in adjacent state line waters with either state's license when both states have concurrent seasons or creel limits. THIS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO ALLIGATOR HUNTING.



West Central Zone Hunters:  Be aware that alligator hunting access is allowed to permitted hunters at the Panther Swamp NWR boat ramp located at Lake George on Callihan Road.  Federal agents will enforce a no alligator hunting restriction north of the Callihan Road bridge.  Be certain that all ammunition is stored separately.

Northeast Zone Hunters:  Be aware to consult U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACOE) regulations regarding hunting activities and boat ramp use before hunting USACOE regulated waterways. Special permits from the USACOE may be required. Some USACOE refuge areas are closed to all hunting.  For complete information, go to their website at  Then click on "Wildlife", then click on "Hunting Permit Program".  You may also call (662) 327-2142.  Additionally, the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone IS NOT open for Northeast Zone Permit holders. No portion of Ross Barnett Reservoir or Pelahatchie Bay is open for Northeast Zone Permit holders.

Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone Hunters: The only area open for hunting is as follows: The public waters of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District only within the area north of a line from Fannin Landing to Channel Marker "A" to the Natchez Trace Overlook on the main lake of Ross Barnett Reservoir, and south of Lowhead Dam on the Pearl River (excluding all areas of the main lake that are west of the Natchez Trace, i.e. North Bay and Twin Harbors).  The area south of a line from Fannin Landing to Channel Marker "A" to the Natchez Trace Overlook on the main lake of Ross Barnett Reservoir and Pelahatchie Bay is closed to alligator hunting.

ALL ZONES: Only lakes that are described specifically within each Zone are open to alligator hunting.  NO other lakes are open.  


Search MS Public Boat Ramps



The MS Alligator Hunting Training Courses are offered to each person who has been issued a Public Waters Permit or Private Lands Voucher.  The training course has limited attendance, therefore, limited to permitted hunters for that year only.  However, each permitted hunter is allowed to bring one (1) guest to the training course. Registration for the classes is an electronic process that is available after permits have been issued. There is no charge for attendance to the training courses. The training courses provide information on alligator history, biology, MDWFP Alligator Program, all alligator hunting regulations, capture methods, capture gear, harvest methods, processing meat and hides, harvest reporting and documentation, how/where to purchase licenses and possession permits, and much more.

The only course offered for 2018 will be at Roosevelt State Park on July 14, 2018.

Only an afternoon course will be offered that will start at 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM.


Obtaining CITES Tags after the harvest

A federal CITES tag is required to be attached to the hide near the end of the tail if being sold to a licensed alligator parts dealer/processor or before transportation across state lines. A CITES tag(s) will be mailed to you upon receipt of your harvest report.  CITES tags may also be obtained from Regional Offices in person, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

  • The wildlife agencies of Arkansas and Louisiana have specifically approved that properly licensed hunters with legally harvested alligators with properly attached
    temporary possession tags are legal to transport through their respective
  • A federal CITES Tag must be attached to the head/hide/carcass if left in possession of a person, processor, or buyer in any other state than Mississippi. 
  • Never sell a hide or carcass to anyone who does not require a CITES tag. 


  • Jackson Main Office, Wildlife Bureau - (601) 432-2217
  • North Region Office, Enid - (662) 563-6224
  • Central Region Office, Canton - (601) 859-3421
  • South Region Office, Magnolia - (601) 783-2911


Mississippi Processors Information

Alligators legally harvested and properly tagged by permitted alligator hunters may only be sold to:

  • A licensed MS Agent Alligator Trapper
  • A person who possesses a Mississippi Fur Dealer's License.
  • A person who is licensed to purchase alligators in another state.

The following contacts are MDWFP approved cooperating buyers and processors.  They have CITES Tags on hand for your convenience.  They will not receive any alligator or hide that is not properly tagged with a Mississippi Temporary Possession Tag.


  • B and L Taxidermy and Processing, MEAT PROCESSING ONLY, Danny Boler, 73 Standard Hill Rd., Vicksburg, MS  39183, PH. (601) 634-6338 or (601) 218-9378 


  • Woodrow (Woody) Cain,  MEAT PROCESSING ONLY, 2133 Old Hwy 61 N., Port Gibson, MS  39150, PH (601) 618-8261


  • Dewayne Denton, MEAT PROCESSING ONLY, 338 Denton Rd. Holcomb, MS  38940. PH (662) 310-3337.


  • Tab and Yvette Pitre, WHOLE CARCASS and HIDE BUYERS, will receive alligators Aug 31 - Sept 10 at B & L Processing in Vicksburg. Call for more information on prices and pickup times call Tab Pitre (985) 258-0355 or Yvette Pitre (985) 258-0354. Dates and times of availability are subject to change.

Record Alligator Certification Procedures

Hunters who wish to certify an alligator as a potential state record of harvest should contact the MDWFP at (601) 432-2217 or (after business hours) (601) 432-2170.  Hunters should be prepared to provide the following information at the time of your call:

  1. Total length (feet-inches)
  2. Belly girth (inches)
  3. Tail girth (inches)
  4. Weight (lbs) (only needed if a potential weight record, plus length and girth measurements)

The Alligator Program Coordinator will return the call ASAP, usually within 24 hours.  If deemed a potential record by the program coordinator, arrangements will be made to meet with MDWFP personnel to obtain an official weight or length measurement.

Regarding Weight Records: Since weights are so difficult to estimate and vary greatly, hunters must pre-weigh their alligator before contacting the MDWFP. If certified scales are not available, then efforts should be made by the hunter to obtain a weight from a reputable source of scales. Weight certification must be on certified scales or other MDWFP approved scales and witnessed by an MDWFP officer or biologist.

Measuring tips:

  1. Lay the alligator on a flat surface with the carcass laying completely flat and straight. Using a cloth measuring tape, measure along the dorsal side (top) of the alligator from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail following the dorsal contour of the alligator.
  2. Measure to the nearest 1/8 inch. 
  3. For weight, be sure the alligator is completely suspended from the ground. 
  4. For weight, be sure to "zero tare" the scales when chains or straps are used to hoist the alligator before hoisting the alligator for measuring the weight. Chains and straps should not be included in the weight measurement.

Alligator Skinning Slide Show Instructions




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