Reptilian pursuits: Mississippi’s Alligator hunting applications open

Published 10:55 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

By Ernest Bowker

The Vicksburg Post

It’s time for Mississippi’s gator hunters to begin their prep work for the 2023 season.

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Beginning Thursday, hunters can enter their names into the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks draw for one of the approximately 900 public lands hunting permits for the 2023 season.

The online application form must be filled out at the MDWFP’s website; by calling 1-800-546-4868; or at any location that sells Mississippi hunting and fishing licenses. The deadline to apply is June 8 at 10 a.m.

Hunters must be at least 16 years old on the date they apply, and are limited to one application in one of the state’s seven hunting zones. If selected, the zone the hunter applies for will be the one they must purchase a permit for.

Lincoln County and Copiah County both straddle the Southwest and South Central hunting zones while Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Amite, Wilkinson and Claiborne County are in the Southwest zone. I-55 is the dividing line between Southwest and South Central zones, anything east of I-55 is in the South Central zone. Lawrence County and Jefferson Davis County are in the South Central zone. 

The winners will receive a confirmation email with a link to purchase their permit, and have from June 14-21 to buy one. A second-chace drawing will occur on June 21 for any unpurchased permits.

If selected for a permit, hunters can purchase it through the MDWFP web site. The cost is $225 — $200 for a possession permit, plus a $25 fee for the alligator hunting license. Hunters must also have a valid hunting license to purchase an alligator license. The permit, license and tags will be mailed.

Hunters must also complete an online alligator hunting course through the MDWFP web site.

The 2023 alligator season opens Aug. 25 at noon and concludes Sept. 4 at noon for public waters. The private lands season begins Aug. 25 at noon and ends Sept. 18 at 6 a.m.

The use of bait or baited hook lines is illegal in Mississippi. Hunters may use snatch hooks, harpoons, snares or bowfishing equipment to secure the alligator before dispatching them. Alligators may be dispatched with a shotgun with shot size no larger than No. 6 shot, or with a bangstick chambered in .38 caliber or larger.

Permit holders may harvest two alligators over 4 feet long, only one of which may exceed 7 feet long. The bag limit restrictions are intended to distribute the harvest among adults and juvenile alligators.

Applications for private lands permits will be accepted until July 1.

Landowners must submit information about the specific property to be hunted and proof of ownership along with the application form. Any private lands that are to be hunted must contain a minimum of 20 acres of surface water and be located within one or any of the available counties to be eligible.

The cost of a private lands permit is $100 for Mississippi residents and $200 for non-residents, plus the $25 alligator hunting license fee.

Public waters on or adjacent to private property are not legal for hunting. Private lands permits are not for use on any public water, nor are public water permits legal on any private lands.

The application form and required documentation are available at the MDWFP web site,

A total of 871 applications were issued in 2022, and more than 3,800 hunters participated in the alligator season. There were 830 alligators harvested by 728 hunters, and another 1,669 alligators were captured and released.

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