LITTLE ROCK — The drawing for Arkansas’s 2020-21 public land alligator season permits is complete, and 38 hunters have been notified of drawing their permit. If you weren’t one of the lucky few who scored a public land permit this year, there’s still plenty of opportunity to bag a gator in The Natural State. Thanks to a new quota-hunt system, anyone with access to private land in the southern half of the state has an opportunity to go on an alligator hunt.
If you didn’t draw one of the public land tags, there’s still a good chance to tag an alligator in 2020. This year, instead of hoping for a drawn permit, hunters who own or have permission to hunt on private land will be able to hunt through a quota-based system similar to bear hunting and private land elk hunting in The Natural State.
Mark Barbee, wildlife biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s Monticello Regional Office, says the quota system has worked extremely well for elk during the last few years and has been in place for bear hunting in Arkansas for decades.
“Anyone can obtain the private land alligator permit through the AGFC’s online licensing system for $5 in addition to their hunting license,” Barbee said. “They will be able to participate in the alligator hunt on private land they have permission to hunt until the quota has been met in that zone. It will be up to each hunter to call in before their hunt every night to the wildlife hotline (1-800-440-1477) to see if the quota has been met and if they can continue their hunt.”
Barbee says the change will allow more people with possible nuisance alligator issues to have a chance to remove those alligators or allow another hunter to do so. He hopes the change also will encourage more hunters who have permits to follow through with their hunt.
“We set the number of permits and quotas based on how many alligators we need removed to keep the population at a sustainable level that minimizes nuisance issues,” Barbee said. “But we do see quite a few private land tags go unfilled each year if the hunter doesn’t find a large enough alligator to meet their expectations. Now that extra harvest opportunity can be used by another hunter on different land.”
Hunter orientations also will see a bit of a change this year, as precautions against large public gatherings due to the coronavirus will prevent the seminar-style orientations historically used for successful permit applicants.
“We have developed an online hunt orientation and orientation manual at agfc.com that lays out all the most important details and frequently asked questions about the hunt,” Barbee said. “Before a person engages in an alligator hunt, they should read through this orientation material to familiarize themselves with the rules of the hunt.”
Visit www.agfc.com/alligator for more information on Arkansas’s 2020 alligator season. The private land alligator permit is available through the “Buy a License” button at agfc.com.
2020 Public Land Alligator Permit Winners:
Zone 1- Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d’Arc WMA
Zone 1 – Lake Erling
Zone 1 — Little River
Zone 1 — Millwood Lake
Zone 3 — Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex