The state of Mississippi had another solid alligator hunting season.
According to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, participation among permitted hunters remained high.
The survey also revealed 2,877 people participated in alligator hunting activities. Statewide, 741 alligators were harvested statewide. A total of 1,441 alligators were reported as “captured and released” by hunters during the 10-day hunting season.
“I’m very satisfied with the results of the 2017 alligator hunting season,” MDWFP Alligator/Furbearer/Nuisance Wildlife Program Coordinator Ricky Flynt said. “Harvest results, participation, and hunter success rates were consistent with other previous years 2014-2016.”
For the second straight year, only one record was set and certified by the MDWFP.
The hunting party of Bryan Burnside, Stephen Brady, Colby Acy, and Anthony Acy caught a 14-foot 3/4-inch alligator that is a new record for longest alligator. It also had a belly girth of 69 inches and a tail girth of 43 inches and weighed 766½ pounds.
The hunting party harvested the alligator on Aug. 28 near the Mississippi River in the Southwest Zone.
Since Burnside had the possession permit, his name will be the one on the state record, but told the Clarion Ledger in September it could not have been done without his friends.
The MDWFP had success with its drawing process of 920 public water alligator hunting permits going through an electronic application process.
“The new drawing process for 2017 was very successful with minimal issues and comments from applicants were very positive,” Flynt said. “I anticipate very little, if any, changes for 2018.”
The Southwest Zone harvested a state-best 204 alligators, followed by the West Central Zone at 188. The Southeast Zone was third at 113, followed by the South Central Zone at 96.
The state divided the public waters for alligator hunting into seven zones. The Southeast Zone includes Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, George, Pearl River and Stone counties.