A record 920 alligator hunting permits will be available in Mississippi this summer with the application process to be held in June. The Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks gave the plan its final approval recently, the agency confirmed yesterday (May 1).

The 10-day season will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 9 in specific public waters statewide. Hunting will be divided into seven different zones, up from six last year.

“We did open the northeast zone, that includes the region north of I-20 and east of I-55,” said Ricky Flynt, the program coordinator for the MDWFP. “That includes many streams that provide habitat, like the upper areas of the Pearl River that are not included in the separate Barnett Reservoir zone. There’s also the upper end of the Big Black River and the Tenn-Tom Waterway.”

A total of 150 permits will be available in the new northeast zone, equal to the permits available in the west central, southwest, south central and southeast zones.

The Barnett Reservoir zone will have 70 permits, an increase of 10 from 2012.

“We are decreasing the number of permits in the northwest zone from 150 down to 100, and that’s due to the lack of success hunters had up there in 2012, which was the first year for that zone,” Flynt said. “We had a habitat problem up there related to low water. If you remember, we had a low water issue in most of the west side of the state last year, but got a good rain about two weeks before the season. The one area that didn’t was the northwest. We just feel that the quality of the hunting experience will be better for 100 than 150 hunters.”

In 2012, more than 4,100 different Mississippians submitted applications for the 810 available permits. A total of 513 alligators were taken statewide.

Applications for the 2013 season must be made electronically at www.mdwfp.com/draws between June 3-June 17. A credit card will be needed to complete the process. There is a $10 non-refundable fee to apply for each zone, and each applicant is limited to one application per zone.

“He or she can apply in as many zones as they want, but only once for any one zone,” Flynt said. “They must include an e-mail address so that we can notify them if they are drawn.”

The drawing will be held within a week after the application period ends, and those hunters drawn will be notified by e-mail. They will have until July 1 to validate their drawing. Flynt said those failing to validate by deadline will be replaced by substitute applicants.

Permits will cost $100 and will allow the harvest of two alligators per permit. Each gator must exceed four feet in length and only one can exceed seven feet. Alligator hunting licenses are $25, in addition to a valid hunting/fishing license, and each permit holder can have as many assistants as he or she wants. Non-residents are allowed to participate as assistants.

The private lands alligator season is open in 28 counties for landowners whose properties meet specific qualifications. Online applications for private lands permits will be accepted June 1-July 1.

For more information regarding alligator hunting rules and regulations, visit mdwfp.com/alligators or call (601) 432-2199.