The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has changed its application process for alligator permits this year.
The agency went from last year’s first-come-first-serve to a drawing set for June. The changes were made at its Commission meeting in April.
Alligator season on public waters will be open from noon Aug. 25 through noon Sept. 4. Private-lands season will run from noon Aug. 25 until 6 a.m. Sept. 18.
MDWFP Alligator Program coordinator Ricky Flynt believes the switch will greatly benefit hunters. Alligator season is considered one of the state’s most popular events.
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“We think it’s going to be good for the customers and the agency,” Flynt said. “The first come, first serve worked for some, but it didn’t work for others. A drawing will make things easier.”
Applications will be accepted June 1 to June 7. Applications are free, but there is a processing fee. An email address is required and the winners will be notified. The first drawing will take place on or about June 14. Winners will have 48 hours to complete their online permit purchase, which costs $200.
Drawn applicants from the second drawing will also be notified by email with a link to purchase their permit with a 48-hour deadline to complete. A credit or debit card is required to complete the online permit purchase.
Applications will be accepted on-line or at any point of sale location where Mississippi hunting and fishing licenses are sold. Applicants must have one of the following licenses to be eligible to apply: a valid Mississippi Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or Lifetime License.
A voluntary Alligator Hunting Training Course will be offered for permit holders on July 15th.
Customers can apply in only one Alligator Hunting Zone. The state has seven zones: Northwest, Northeast, West Central, Southwest, South Central, Southeast, and the Ross Barnett.
The six coastal counties are in the Southeast Zone: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, George, Pearl River and Stone.
A person must be 16 years old at the time of the application to buy an alligator hunting permit.
Private-lands season is open to landowners whose properties meet specific qualifications within 33 open counties. Applications and instructions for private-lands permits are available online. Applications must be submitted between June 1 and July 1.