Arkansas alligator hunt permits drawn

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission conducted the annual alligator hunt permit draw last Friday, July 6, and 108 lucky hunters will be shining the water this September in search of one of Arkansas’s largest big game species.

The hunt, scheduled for Sept. 21-24 and Sept. 28-Oct. 1, takes place only at night, and participants must locate and subdue their alligator from a boat before dispatching it. No baiting, electronic calls or hooking of alligators is allowed in Arkansas.

All permit winners must attend a hunter orientation class before being issued their permits. Orientation classes will be held from 9 a.m. until noon Aug. 4 in Hope and Pine Bluff. A makeup orientation will be held from 9 a.m. until noon Aug. 11 at the AGFC Headquarters in Little Rock.

At orientation, permit holders will be issued their Federal CITES tag, which will enable them to move the alligator out of state for processing or tanning once they have properly checked it. Mark Barbee, wildlife biologist in Monticello who helps coordinate the alligator hunt each yea,r says this is an improvement for this year that should help cut down on paperwork and wait time for successful hunters.

“In years past, you could use an in-state person to process the meat or tan the hide, but people who wanted to get their gator mounted from a shop that was out of state had to wait for their federal permit to be issued,” Barbee said. “Now they can just call in the harvest that night, check it online and the check-in process is complete.”

Successful private land at-large applicants must provide written landowner permission and a map of their proposed hunt area at orientation.

Barbee says hunters will learn more than just the basic regulations of the hunt at orientation. Class leaders will offer some helpful advice gained through 11 years of alligator hunts in Arkansas.

“It’s a nighttime hunt, so safety and familiarity with your equipment is extremely important,” Barbee said. “You’re also hunting something that can bite back and [you] have a loaded firearm in the boat, so you want to make sure you do it right.”

Barbee says aside from safety, some of the most important things a permit holder will learn is in preparation.

“You have to have a plan of action ready to go if you harvest a gator,” Barbee said. “You can’t just ride around with it for hours before getting it on ice. The gator’s watertight hide will trap whatever heat is in it, so you have to do what you can to get it cooled quickly and have a processor you can get it to that next morning if possible.”

Another tip offered to hunters is to settle down on the scouting. Getting out ahead of time and finding a gator is fine, but the more you revisit that area, the more likely you are to spook the animal before the day of the hunt.

“Gators are really shy,” Barbee said. “We’ve had a lot of hunters talk about seeing a big gator for multiple trips, but then either couldn’t get close to it or couldn’t find it the day of the hunt. The more you visit a gator’s territory, the wiser you make it to your presence.”

The hunt itself is different from what people may have seen on TV. There’s no baiting or hooking of the gator beforehand, so hunters must slip up on their alligator and catch it with either a handheld snare or harpoon. The slow, steady approach is followed by an intense bout of chaos once the harpoon hits home or snare snaps closed. Alligators are known to roll, dive and thrash violently during the fight, and the larger the gator, the harder it pulls. Arkansas alligator hunters must completely subdue the gator before finishing it with a shotgun or shotgun shell-loaded bang stick using shot no larger than No. 4 common shot.

Permit winners are allowed up to three assistants during the hunt, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon and dispatch the alligator.

 

2018 alligator permit winners

Alligator Zone 1

Donna Ballard - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA

Michael Brown - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA

Rodney Roberts - Zone 1 Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA

Elizabeth Bowman - Zone 1 Little River WMA

Matthew Epperson - Zone 1 Little River WMA

Jacob Smith - Zone 1 Little River WMA

Terry Atkins - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Colton Barnhart - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Deverl Beaver - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Kenneth Bell - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Christopher Carden - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

David Chronister - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Trevor Day - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Jason McCandless - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Josh Meeler - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Brandon Tullis - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Jermie Walston - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Caleb Work - Zone 1 Millwood Lake

Kenton Fox - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA

Kerrie Peterson - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA

Carroll Reneau - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA

Terry Stephens - Zone 1 Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA

Josiah Allen - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Jonathan Atkinson - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Kirk Babb - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Christopher Curtis - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Christopher Dillman - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Todd Dobson - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Tyler Feemster - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Ashley Fielding - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Brant Fowler - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Amanda George - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Robert Grace - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Travis Hale - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Ashley Hale - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Matthew Hardy - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

John Harper - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Ryan Haselhuhn - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Terry Hawthorne - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Mark Hodnett - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Jason Long - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Justin Morris - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

William Oxford - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Michael Petty - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Heath Phillips - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Bill Rogers Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Tonya Smreker - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

William Snider - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Terry Vanhoutem - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Cody Vansickle - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Andrew Whatley - Zone 1 Private Land at Large

Evan Williams Zone 1 Private Land at Large

 

Alligator Zone 2

Michael Faulkner - Zone 2 Private Land at Large

Ashley Monk - Zone 2 Private Land at Large

Bryant Murphy - Zone 2 Private Land at Large

James Parker - Zone 2 Private Land at Large

Stephen Strack Zone 2 Private Land at Large

 

Alligator Zone 3

Randy Bates - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

David Cissell - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Timothy Clark - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Jared Cole - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Jason Garrett - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Christopher Gillihan - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Tyler Griffin - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Alex Hinson - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Adam Hudson - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Ron Jetton - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Alan King - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Claude McCool - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

James McMahan - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Matthew Miller - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Jamey Moody - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Dylan Oliver - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Ryan Phillips - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Justin Reynolds - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Randy Smith - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Stephen Taylor - Zone 3 Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex

Andrew Baldwin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Stephen Beatty - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Jared Boling - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Timothy Clark - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Van Dunn - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Phyllis Gentry - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Taylor Gwin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Brad Harvey - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Nathaniel Hogbin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Victoria Hornbeck - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Nicholas Kelley - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Larry Kling - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

David Lynch - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Lindsey Martin - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Andrew McCarty - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

William Minyard - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Christopher Mueller - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Michael Newman - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Robert Owen - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Andrew Runsick - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Sylvia Simon - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Rodger Smith - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Matthew Spoon - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Dalton Swindell - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Zackery Taliaferro - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Rankin Teeter - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

John Webb - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Alvin Wells - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

James Westbrook - Zone 3 Private Land at Large

Bryan Williams - Zone 3 Private Land at Large