Applications for the 920 available alligator tags for the 2017 Mississippi public water season began being accepted at 10 a.m. Thursday, and sportsmen have until 10 a.m. on June 7 to apply.

The weeklong process replaces the first-come, first-served online system used the last two years, said Ricky Flynt, the alligator program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks.

“Under that, all 920 permits were gone in about 40 minutes, and some applicants reported problems,” Flynt said. “This process eliminates that maddening rush and gives everybody time to apply, and then after the application process ends a computer program will select the people to get the permits.”

There is no application fee per se, but applicants will have to pay a service fee ranging from $2.29 to $2.34 depending on the method of applying use.

* The process can be handled online at mdwfp.com, the agency’s website where people will see the banner on the home page.

* It can be done by phone by calling 1-800-5GO-HUNT (800-546-4868).

* Or you can apply anywhere Mississippi hunting or fishing licenses are sold.

The season will be Aug. 25 and end Sept. 4.

Applications are limited to hunters who are 16 years or older at the time of the application and residents of Mississippi. Applicants must possess one of the following licenses: 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 Sportsman's License.

Hunters may apply once for the zone of their choice. A total of 920 possession permits will be available and the drawing will take place on June 14. Once the drawing is completed and notification emails sent, Flynt said those drawn will have 48 hours to go to the MDWFP website and pay $200 for their permits.

Unsold permits will go into a second drawing on June 26. Winners should expect to receive their permits, licenses and tags by the US Postal Service within two weeks of the drawings. The 2017 Alligator Hunting Guides will be mailed separately.

To connect directly to the process, click here.