The first step in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's process of the very popular alligator hunting season has just been finalized. For the past couple of weeks, AGFC field crews have been busy conducting alligator spotlight surveys all across south Arkansas.
This population data, a harvest report from last year's alligator hunt, a summary of last year's nuisance alligator activities and a report on Arkansas's farm-raised alligators will all be compiled into a single report that must be submitted to the U. S Fish and Wildlife Service by July 1. The USFWS will review the information and determine if there is cause to prohibit a conservative hunting season in 2009.
The AGFC will review the proposed hunting season dates in June with final approval coming in July. A total of 28 permits will be available with 20 of those coming through the computer draw process, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Ricky Chastain says. "In order for the hunt to take place, we must proceed with some of the administrative steps out in front of the Commission's final approval of these dates," Chastain said.
The proposed season dates for the 2009 alligator hunting season are: from 30 minutes after sunset on Friday, Sept. 18 until 30 minutes before sunrise on Monday, Sept. 22 and from 30 minutes after sunset on Friday, Sept. 25 until 30 minutes before sunrise on Monday, Sept. 28, 2009.
The AGFC will begin taking online applications for the public land and private land at-large permits on June 22 and end the application period on July 10. Successfully drawn hunters will be notified by late July.
The mandatory hunter orientation classes will be held at the Hope Regional Office on Aug. 15, at the Monticello Regional Office on Aug. 22 and at the Little Rock Headquarters on Aug. 29.
Chastain said that he strongly urges anyone interested in a chance to participate in the alligator hunt to be very aware of the important dates in this process. "We really want the public to understand how this process must be condensed into a short timeframe and to be very prepared to respond to the timelines of the application period, as well as plan ahead for the hunter orientation workshops and hunt dates if successfully drawn," he said.
The following permits will be available through the computer draw process:
Alligator Management Zone 1
Public Area Permits --
Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois d' Arc WMA -- one permit
Millwood Lake -- one permit
Private Land At-large Permits -- five permits
Alligator Management Zone 3
Public Area Permits -- Lower Arkansas River Complex -- nine permits
Private Land At-large Permits -- four permits.