Special Alligator Season will return in 2024

Published 2:11 pm Friday, January 26, 2024

CLEVELAND— Alligator Program Coordinator Andrew Arnett with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks gave an update on the program. He additionally presented a rule change for a special gator season at Thursday’s commission meeting. 

The rule change would move to open the Pelahatchie Bay season for 2024 and strike the calendar year from the rule so the department won’t have to change the date each year. MDWFP opened the Pelahatchie Bay season in 2023. 

Last year’s special season generated 1,669 applicants for the draw hunt. Of those entries, 718 applicants were qualified and only 24 parties were drawn. Of the 24 permits, 21 permit holders harvested alligators of the 48 alligators which could have been taken, Arnett said. 

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“We got approval to do another special season for this year. It would be the second year this season,” Arnett said. “The purpose is to target breeding age adults to help reduce complaints from the local residents.” 

MDWFP’s commission approved the rule changes. 

Arnett said the largest alligator caught out of Pelahatchie Bay during the special 2023 season was 12 feet and three inches long. 

Wildlife Chief of Staff Russ Walsh praised Arnett in his first year since taking the job. Arnett began his work with MDWFP in wildlife at first, moved to law enforcement and moved back to wildlife last year. 

“We are glad to have him and think he will do a fantastic job,” Walsh said.