To Ricky Flynt, alligator program coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, the secret to a successful alligator season is as simple as weather, and the 2019 season was a perfect example, with participation records set.
“The weather was absolutely perfect for the 10-day hunting season statewide,” Flynt said. “It gave hunters ample opportunity to hunt.”
And, boy did they. Flynt said the MDWFP received a total of 4,414 permit applications, and 957 of the 960 available permits were sold. The total harvest of 922 — out of more than 2,000 alligators captured — is surpassed only by the harvest of 982 in the 2015 season. The season also had one of the highest hunter success rates at 75%.
“We had the highest participation ever,” Flynt said. “Public water levels were above typical levels, and that allowed hunters to get to areas that have not been accessible in other years.”
Of the seven zones, the Southwest Zone had the highest number of harvested alligators (422) and tied the Southeast Zone in the length category (with 13 1/2-foot alligators).
“Alligator hunters are selective about the alligators they keep because of the limits,” Flynt said. “Hunters are allowed two gators, and only one that is over 7 feet long.”
Only one state record was reported; it tied a previous mark for longest female at 10 feet. The gator captured by Paul Edwards of Okalona on Sept. 5 weighed 289 pounds, with a belly girth of 48 inches and a tail girth of 341/2 inches.
2019 Alligator numbers
- Total applicants 4,414
- Permits sold 957 out of 960
- Permits used 816 (85.4%)
- Total hunters 3,065
- Average hunting party 3.8 people
- Success rate 75.5 % (617 permits)
- Total havest 918
- Over 7 feet 422
- Under 7 feet 496
- Total released 2,018
- Hours per gator 7.86