At 9 a.m. Tuesday, permits for the 2015 Mississippi Public Lands Alligator Hunt went on sale online, first-come and first-served.
The first completed transaction was 9:06 a.m.
By 9:39 a.m., it was over — all 920 available permits had been claimed, paid for and confirmation e-mail sent.
“Just 39 minutes,” said Ricky Flynt, the alligator program leader for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. “This just goes to show the growing interest in alligator hunting in Mississippi.
“It is very obvious the people of Mississippi are very passionate about the opportunity to go alligator hunting; it is personally and professionally satisfying for MDWFP to be able to provide this unique opportunity for hunters in Mississippi.”
Off course, the 920 lucky ones who got the permits, one each, are happy.
“There will be those who will gripe and groan about the system,” Flynt said, obviously referring to some among the thousands that failed. The biologist has one thing to tell them — don’t blame the system.
“Contrary to reports the website nor server never shut down,” he said. “It might have gotten slow but all 920 permits were sold in 39 minutes.”
Sam Polles, MDWFP executive director, was quick to give credit for the system and those who coordinated the sale to see it went as smoothly as possible.
“There were multiple agencies and companies working together today to make this process a success,” Polles said, in a press release. “We would like to thank Mississippi Interactive, Active Network - Outdoors, Department of Public Safety, and our employees at the MDWFP for their hard work to make this event successful today.”
The season opens noon Aug. 28 and ends at noon on Sept. 7. Each permit holder, limited to Mississippi residents ages 16 and up who have valid Sportsman or combination hunting/fishing licenses, will be allowed two alligators. Both must exceed 4 feet and only one can exceed 7 feet.
Among the complaints found online at different websites was that the system failed after the application was filed and the user moved to the pay window, only to find the process ended. With such high volume, it appears the zone the user was attempting to enter sold out before his or her transaction was completed.
Another complaint was that it seemed people closest to Jackson, home of the MDWFP and the computer system handling the draw, were best served. One poster suggested that “South Mississippi people seemed to be shut out.”
However, permits were claimed by hunters from the Gulf Coast and South Mississippi, and one lucky purchaser got his while vacationing on a houseboat in Kentucky. He indicated he timed a trip to port to insure a WiFi connection, and, despite a little technical difficulty, he succeeded.
Others complained about it seems the same people keep getting to hunt while others have failed to be drawn over and over since the hunts began in 2005.
The answer: Teamwork.
Wrote one poster: “We have eight to 10 people enter every year, and while there have been years when only one of us was drawn, and for a crappy zone, we did get to hunt.”
Wrote another: “Network...network...network...network! It’s the not-so-secret secret to hunting every year and it just amazes me how stubbornly some folks resist utilizing the most efficient tool available to ensure their participation in the sport. Teams draw every year because of the effort they put into networking and team building. They’re not lucky, they’re not cheating, and most importantly, they’re not sitting on their duff waiting for nothing good to happen.
“Buy the equipment, rig your boat, scout and learn the rivers, network and team build, and, most of all, be the person others want on their boat or team!”