Alligator Hunting Season & Regulations

The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a conservation success story. Due to loss of habitat and unregulated market hunting, alligators were reduced to low numbers by the early 1900s. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists and state wildlife agencies, alligators were listed as endangered in 1967. This status, combined with proactive management and law enforcement efforts by wildlife professionals, allowed alligator populations to rebound and they now flourish over most of their historic range. Alligator populations increased to the point that their protected status was downlisted in 1987 allowing greater flexibility to manage populations. 

The alligator population in Georgia is one of many renewable natural resources that can sustain limited harvest in concert with biological monitoring and periodic evaluations. Georgia’s flourishing alligator population is managed through a regulated hunting season. Additionally, licensed nuisance alligator agent-trappers annually remove about 450 alligators in the state. 

If you are interested in participating in a totally hands-on, eye-to-eye hunting adventure unlike any other hunting experience you can pursue in Georgia, then the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) invites you to submit an application for the opportunity to participate in Georgia’s alligator hunting season.


General Information

Season

The 2017 season opens at SUNSET on Friday, August 18, 2017 and closes at SUNRISE on Monday, October 2, 2017.

Bag Limit

One (1) alligator. Legal alligators must be greater than or equal to 48 inches in length as measured from end of the snout to tip of the tail for Zones 1–9. In Zone 1A (Lake Walter F. George), legal alligators must be greater or equal to 96 inches in length as measured from end of the snout to tip of the tail.

Licenses

Anyone hunting or assisting an alligator permit holder must possess a valid Hunting License. Hunters must be at least twelve years of age. Hunters age 12–15 need not have a Hunting License. In order to hunt unsupervised they must have a valid Hunter Education Certificate. An Alligator Harvest Permit must be in possession of a person in the hunting party.

Legal Methods

Hunters may use hand-held ropes or snares, snatch hooks, harpoons, gigs or arrows with a restraining line attached. Legal alligators must be dispatched immediately upon capture by using a handgun or bangstick, or by severing the spinal cord with a sharp implement.

Legal Hours

Alligators may be hunted during the day or at night.

Landowner Permission

It is unlawful to hunt without landowners permission including powerline, gas line, railroad and other rights-of-way. Written permission must be obtained if land is so posted.

Open Zones

For purpose of managing, hunting and dispersing alligator harvest, the State is divided into 10 zones as follows:

  • Zone 01: Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Early, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Talbot, Terrell & Webster Counties (this zone DOES NOT include zone 1A, Lake Walter F. George) (Q=35)
  • Zone 01A*: Lake Walter F. George(Areas north of the dam, west of Hwy 39 and south of the Hwy 39 bridge at Omaha, GA side only. Hunting in the refuge is not allowed). (Q=30)
  • Zone 02: Baker, Decatur, Grady, Miller, Mitchell & Seminole Counties. (Q=220)
  • Zone 03: Crawford, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Houston, Lee, Macon, Monroe, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, Upson & Worth Counties (Q=60)
  • Zone 04: Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Thomas, Tift & Turner Counties (Q=85)
  • Zone 05: Baldwin, Ben Hill, Bibb, Bleckley, Coffee, Dodge, Jeff Davis, Jones, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Twiggs, Wheeler, Wilcox & Wilkinson Counties (Q=100)
  • Zone 06: Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Echols, Pierce & Ware Counties (Q=80)
  • Zone 07: Appling, Glynn, Long, McIntosh, Tattnall, Toombs & Wayne Counties (Q=150)
  • Zone 08: Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham (excluding the Bradley River, Cane Patch and Rush Creek areas within the boundaries of Ossabaw Island Natural Heritage Preserve) , Effingham, Evans,  and Liberty, Counties (Q=160)
  • Zone 09: Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Warren and Washington (Q=80)

WMAs in the legal zones are open to alligator hunting provided that the WMA has open small game dates that coincide with the open season for alligators unless otherwise specified. Please refer to the WMA listing in the 2016–2017 Georgia Hunting Seasons & Regulations booklet, which will be available in print August 1st and online in late-July.

*Zone 01A: Special regulations and a USCOE permit required on Lake Walter F. George.

How to Apply

You must apply online at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com. Selection in a quota hunt will allow you to purchase an Alligator Harvest Permit, which must be held by a member of the alligator hunting party. You must first be selected through the quota hunt application process. Up to three individuals may apply as a party. No more than three individuals can be accepted as a party. When applying as a party, each applicant must allocate an equal number of priority points in order for the party application to be accepted. Each applicant must maintain a valid mailing address in their customer account. More information on the quota application process.

Hunt Selection

Hunters will be selected for a specified zone. Open zones for alligator hunting and the number of permits for each zone are listed under "Open Zones." No more than three (3) total selections are allowed.

Deadline

Application period is June 1–July 31. To be eligible for drawing, alligator applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on July 31.

Age Restriction

No one under age 12 may apply for an alligator hunting permit or accompany a permitted alligator hunter during a hunt. It is unlawful for an adult to permit their child or ward (age 12–15) to hunt without adult supervision unless the child possesses a Hunter Education Certificate while hunting.

Disqualifications

Anyone submitting false information or more than one application will be disqualified and may be excluded from future hunts for two (2) years.

Notification

Hunters who are selected will receive a harvest permit and temporary alligator harvest tag by mail. Permits and tags are not transferable, are only valid for the management zone and harvest period indicated thereon and must be in possession while hunting. Hunters not selected will receive a priority point, which may be applied to future applications.

Additional Information

Selected hunters should review a "Guide to Alligator Hunting in Georgia" that includes information on hunting preparation, techniques, and processing. 

Tagging

Dispatched alligators must be tagged with a Department-supplied temporary harvest tag before transporting. Temporary tags shall be locked through the skin of the carcass within six (6) inches of the tip of the tail. The temporary tag shall remain attached to the alligator hide until the carcass is validated by WRD, Game Management Section personnel and a CITES tag is issued. Temporary and CITES tags may be used only once. The possession of any alligator hide not tagged is prohibited.

Validation

All alligator carcasses or hides must be validated by taking it to a WRD, Game Management office during normal business hours (Monday–Friday; 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m.) prior to October 15. CITES tags issued by WRD must remain attached to the alligator hide until the hide is tanned, taxidermy mounted or exported from the state. At the time of validation, an alligator harvest report form provided by WRD must be completed by the permittee for each alligator harvested.

Consumption of Alligator Meat

Alligator meat is a good quality and flavorful meat. It is naturally high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free. Alligators may accumulate significant levels of mercury. For more information call 706-557-6416 or 706-369-6376.