Public Waters Alligator Hunting Info
Permits for alligator hunting are by Special Permit only. Applications for an opportunity to hunt alligators may be submitted electronically from June 2-9 only, via this website. (REQUIRED: applicants must have a valid MS hunting license to apply).
Each person who gets drawn for a permit must attend (or have previously attended) a MS Alligator HUNTING TRAINING COURSE in order to qualify for their Permit to hunt and harvest an alligator in MS. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age and a resident of MS (MS Lifetime License holders are eligible to apply, as well).
ALLIGATOR SEASON DATES for 2015:
Public Waters Season: 12:00 noon August 28 - 12:00 noon September 7, 2015
Private Lands Season: 12:00 noon August 28 - 6:00 am September 21, 2015
NOTICE: Some procedures and the permitting process, compared to the information provided in the 2014 links above, are subject to change for 2015.
Stay tuned for updates by April 2015.
NEWS UPDATES: 2014 Alligator Season
September 2 - Update:
September 2, 10:00 am: The weight record for a male alligator has been broken for the second time since the season opened on August 29. At 6:00 am, the MDWFP Alligator Program certified a new weight record at 792 pounds. The alligator was taken by permit holder, Brian Montgomery of Starkville and his two friends, Scott Berry of Raymond and Jesse Phillips of Starkville just after midnight on September 2 from a portion of the Mississippi River within the Southwest Alligator Hunting Zone. The alligator was 13 feet 5 inches long and measured 69 1/4 inches in belly girth and 51 inches in tail girth. Scott Berry is not new to alligator hunting in Mississippi. He has participated with other permit holders in previous years. Interestingly, Scott Berry was also a part of the hunting party that recorded the most recent weight record of 756 pounds on Saturday, August 30.
The record was certified at Mahannah Wildlife Management Area.
The season on public waters closes at noon, September 8. Weather forecasts indicate increasing chances for showers and scattered thunderstorms. The MDWFP encourages alligator hunters to be mindful of sudden changes in weather that could include brief violent storms with lightning. If boaters are caught in a storm with lightning, get off of the water immediately and seek cover on the bank. Never seek cover on the water or on the bank near isolated trees that may attract lightning.
All permitted hunters are required to complete an on-line harvest report and survey within 48 of harvesting an alligator.
No accidents have been reported.
Pictured below (L-R) Brian Montgomery, Scott Berry, Jesse Phillips with the NEW Weight Record Male Alligator at 792 pounds, 13 feet 5 inches long.
Pictured below (L-R) Jesse Phillips, Brian Montgomery, and Scott Berry with the NEW Weight Record Male Alligator at 792 pounds, 13 feet 5 inches long.
August 30 - Update:
August 30, 3:00 pm: Today at 12:40 pm, MDWFP officials certified a NEW record weight for a male alligator taken by a hunter. The alligator was taken by permit holder, Robert Mahaffey of Brandon and his two assistants. It was harvested from an area of the Mississippi River in the Southwest Alligator Hunting Zone. Their alligator weighed 756 pounds and was 13 feet 1 3/4 inches long. It's belly girth and tail girth was 67 1/4 inches and 45 1/2 inches, respectively. The gator was initially captured using bowfishing equipment. The previous record, 741.5 pounds, was taken from the Southwest Zone during the 2013 season by Lee Turner of Madison, Mississippi.
A rain system is slowly moving across much of western and central Mississippi hampering many hunters efforts. However, it may begin to clear away from the western part of the state before sunset offering better hunting conditions tonight.
Pictured below (L-R) Jay Leggette and Robert Mahaffey with the NEW Record Weight Male Alligator - 756 pounds.
How to Apply for Public Water Alligator Permits
- UPDATES COMING SOON for 2015
- 2014 REGULATIONS - (Dates, Zone Descriptions, Methods of Take/Harvest, etc)
- 2014 Public Water ZONES MAP
How does the drawing work?
- UPDATES COMING SOON for 2015
Where can you hunt on a public waters permit?
Each permit is limited to a specific hunting zone.
There are 7 geographical public water alligator hunting zones.
- NORTHEAST (excluding all portions of the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone)
- WEST CENTRAL
- SOUTH CENTRAL
- 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.
- **NEW** 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
- Lake Mary (Wilkinson County) in the Southwest Zone
>>>> NO OTHER LAND LOCKED LAKES ARE OPEN FOR HUNTING <<<<
To hunt a lake listed above, you must be drawn in the zone in which the lake resides.
LEGAL WATERWAYS CLARIFICATION
For those permitted in the following MS Pubic Water Zones:
- West Central
- South Central
Clarification of Open Waterways:
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- Public Waterways Map per MS Department of
- Public Waterways List per MS Department of Enviromental Quality
NOTICE Public waterways VS. Public Water - Do not confuse the two terms, in regards to the 2014 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 hunters responsibility to know his/her location in regards to state boundaries. Reciprocal license agreements allow hunters/fishermen to legally hunt/fish in adjacent stateline waters with either state's license when both states have concurrent seasons or creel limits. THIS IS NOT APPLICABLE WITH ALLIGATOR HUNTING.
- Each zone will have 150 permits available to applicants, except the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone will have 70 permits and the Northwest Zone 100 permits available. A total of 920 alligator harvest permits will be available in 2014.
- All zones open from August 29 - Sept 8, 2014
- Each permit has a 2 alligator bag limit. Must be 4 feet long or longer, only 1 may exceed 7 feet long.
- Each hunter issued physical tags for each alligator.
- Harvest Reporting is Mandatory (via on-line harvest report and survey)
Search MS Public Boat Ramps (click on below link):
TRAINING COURSE INFORMATION:
Each person drawn for a public waters permit must attend a mandatory MS Alligator Hunting Training Course for their permit. Also, anyone who is issued a private lands permit must also attend. Each 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 and instructions for registration are included within the email notification to all drawn public water hunters and permitted applicants for private land hunts. 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.
Course Schedule for 2014:
August 2 - 9:00am- 12:00 Noon, Roosevelt State Park (Morton, MS)
August 9 - 9:00am- 12:00 Noon, Delta State University (Cleveland, MS)
August 16 - 9:00am- 12:00 Noon, Jones County Junior College (Ellisville, MS)
Training Course Directions and Instructions
Obtaining CITES Tags after the harvest
Obtaining CITES Tags: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 prior to 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
states for the purpose of processing.
- 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
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:
- Total length (feet - inches)
- Belly girth (inches)
- Tail girth (inches)
- 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 a MDWFP officer or biologist.
- Lay the alligator on a flat surface with the carcass laying completly 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.
- Measure to the nearest 1/8 inch.
- For weight, be sure the alligator is completely suspended from the ground.
- For weight, be sure to "zero tare" the scales when chains or straps are used to hoist the alligator before hoisting the alligator for measureing the weight. Chains and straps should not be included into the weight measurement.
The current length records are:
- Male - 13 feet 7 inches (weighed 687.5 pounds, belly girth 62 in., tail girth 43 in.)
- Female - 10 feet 0 inches (weighed 295.3 pounds, belly girth 50 in., tail girth 32 in.)
The current weight records are:
- Male - 792 pounds (13 ft. 5 in., belly girth 69 in., tail girth 51 in.)
- Female - 295.3 pounds (10 ft. 0 in., belly girth 50 in., tail girth 32 in.)