Content tagged with general will appear on the About LDWF Page.

Nuisance Alligators

Louisiana’s Nuisance Alligator Program

Program Overview

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) licenses a statewide network of nuisance alligator hunters (approximately 65 hunters) to capture nuisance alligators.  The Department receives over 2,200 nuisance alligator complaints annually.  Approximately 3,000 nuisance alligators are harvested and an additional number of smaller sized nuisance alligators are relocated annually.  The nuisance alligator program continues to strive to minimize alligator and human conflicts.  

What is considered a nuisance alligator?

Not all alligators are considered nuisance alligators.  The mere presence of an alligator does not qualify it as a nuisance, even if it is located in an unexpected place.  Most alligators, if left alone, will move on.  Alligators less than 4 feet in length are naturally fearful of humans and are generally not a threat to pets, livestock or humans.  Alligators at least 4 feet in length that present a threat to pets, livestock or humans are considered “nuisance” alligators.  The following information should help you determine if an alligator may pose a threat to you, your pets/livestock or your property.  If, after reading the following, you determine that an alligator is a "nuisance”, please see “How can I report a nuisance alligator?” below.

Determine Whether an Alligator is a Nuisance

Some of the following information was taken from the “If You See an Alligator…” portion of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website (

  • If the alligator is not approaching people or otherwise posing an obvious threat, wait a few days if possible - even up to a week - before contacting LDWF. In spring and summer, alligators are moving to breed or find new habitat. Most of the alligators moving around are smaller ones that have been pushed out of their normal habitat by larger alligators. Usually, these smaller alligators will move further on in a week or two.
  • If you hear an alligator hiss, it's a warning that you are too close.
  • Alligators have a natural fear of humans, and usually begin a quick retreat when approached by people. If you have a close encounter with an alligator a few yards away, back away slowly. It is extremely rare for wild alligators to chase people, but they can run up to 35 miles per hour for short distances on land. Never make the mistake of thinking that an alligator is slow and lethargic. Alligators are extremely quick and agile and will defend themselves when cornered. A female protecting her nest might charge a person who gets close to the nest, but she would quickly return to the nest after the intruder left.
  • It is not uncommon for alligators to bask along the banks of a pond or stream for extended periods of time. These alligators are usually warming their bodies; they are not actively hunting. Oftentimes a basking alligator may be seen with its mouth open; this is a way to cool its body temperature down, since alligators do not pant or sweat. An approaching human should cause these alligators to retreat into the water. (In some cases, the alligator may be protecting a nest - see below.) However, an alligator may be considered a nuisance if it leaves the banks of the water body to spend time near homes, livestock pens, or other structures.
  • If you walk near the water and an alligator comes straight toward you, especially if it comes out of the water, it is definitely a nuisance alligator that needs to be reported to LDWF. In many cases, these are alligators that have lost their fear of humans.  This can be caused by feeding alligators (intentionally or unintentionally) or other reasons.
  • If you see an alligator while walking a pet make sure that your pet is on a leash and under your control. Your pet will naturally be curious, and the alligator may see it as an easy food source. Alligators have a keen sense of smell. In areas near alligator sightings it is wise to keep pets inside a fenced area or in the house for a few days, during which the alligator will often move on.
  • If you see an alligator in a roadway, yard or other unexpected place, DO NOT attempt to move it! It is not only illegal for the general public to handle or possess alligators but can also be dangerous.
  • If you see a large alligator in your favorite swimming hole or pond, do not swim with it. Although alligator attacks in Louisiana are rare, it can happen. The "attack" reports in Louisiana are usually more accurately described as "encounters." As with all outdoor activities, realize that wildlife encounters are a possibility.
  • It is not uncommon for alligators to pursue top-water fishing lures or floats (bobbers, corks), and this activity does not constitute a threat to humans. As with fish, alligators are attracted to these lures because they mimic natural food. Most alligators can be easily scared away from boats or fishing lures. However, alligators that repeatedly follow boats, canoes, or other watercraft, and/or maintain a close distance without submersing may be considered nuisance alligators.

How can I report a nuisance alligator?

Anyone experiencing problems with nuisance alligators may contact any Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries office to make a nuisance alligator complaint.  The LDWF office will record pertinent information and supply that person with a nuisance alligator complaint number and the name and contact information of the nuisance alligator hunter for your area.  You will then contact the nuisance alligator hunter and provide him/her the necessary information.  The nuisance alligator hunter should respond within 24 hours (less in an emergency situation).  Nuisance alligator hunters may charge up to $30 per complaint for removal of nuisance alligators less than 6’.  In most cases alligators less than 4’ are not considered a nuisance or threat to welfare of pets, livestock or humans.

DOs and DON'Ts for Living with Alligators

Some of the following information was taken from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website (, adapted from "Living with Alligators,"(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,


Don’t - kill, harass, molest or attempt to move alligators. State law prohibits such actions, and the potential for being bitten or injured by a provoked alligator is high.

Don’t- allow small children to play by themselves in or around water.

Don’t- swim at night or during dusk or dawn when alligators most actively feed.

Don’t- feed or entice alligators. Alligators overcome their natural shyness and become accustomed or attracted to humans when fed.

Don’t- throw fish scraps into the water or leave them on shore. Although you are not intentionally feeding alligators, the end result can be the same.

Don’t- remove any alligators from their natural habitat or accept one as a pet. It is a violation of state law to do so. Alligators do not become tame in captivity and handling even small ones may result in bites. In particular, never go near hatchling/young alligators or pick them up. They may seem cute and harmless, but the mother alligator will be nearby, and will protect her clutch for at least two years.

Do- call your local LDWF office if you encounter a nuisance gator that has lost its fear of people.


Do- closely supervise children when playing in or around water.

Do- use ordinary common sense and precautions. Swim only during daylight hours.

Do- inform others that feeding alligators creates safety problems for others who want to use the water for recreational purposes.

Do- dispose of fish scraps in garbage cans at most boat ramps or fish camps.


Do- enjoy viewing and photographing wild alligators from a safe distance of at least 50 feet or more. Remember that they're an important part of Louisiana's natural history, as well as an integral component of many wetland ecosystems.

Alligator Hunting


Private Lands

A resident alligator hunter must either own land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that is classified as wetland habitat in order to qualify for alligator harvest tags. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries issues harvest tags for property containing sufficient alligator habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest. Alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the season. An alligator hunter license applicant must submit the following:

  • a completed alligator hunter license application form including the hunter's information (name, dob, drivers license #, etc.),
  • proof of property ownership (tax receipts or bill of sale) containing Parish, Township, Range, Section and acreage information,
  • a map outlining the property to be hunted, and
  • a landowner's signature indicating permission for the hunter to harvest alligators on the property.
  • If applicable a legal alligator hunting lease may be submitted.

Individuals interested in obtaining alligator harvest information on private lands (what is considered alligator habitat, does my property qualify for alligator tags, requirements, etc.) should contact the corresponding office/biologist responsible for administering alligator harvests on private lands for the parish in which the property is located (see map and contact information).

Click to enlarge.

Resident alligator hunting licenses cost $25 and there is no cost for alligator tags.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags. An alligator Sport Hunter License cost $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Public Lands and Lakes

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes.

There are many public lands and lakes available for alligator harvest opportunities.  These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal governmental agencies.  Methods in which alligator hunters are chosen for these areas include bidding and lotteries. 

The lottery alligator harvest program provides the opportunity for over 300 resident alligator hunters to harvest approximately 800 alligators on almost 40 WMAs/public lakes located throughout the state. 

Lottery alligator harvest applications become available mid to late May of each year and lists all available WMAs/public lakes.  See Lottery Alligator Harvest Program for additional lottery alligator harvest program information

Individuals interested in obtaining specific public land/lake alligator harvest information (selection methods, requirements, availability, etc.) should contact the corresponding office responsible for that particular public land/lake (see map and contact information).

Click to enlarge

Resident alligator hunting licenses cost $25 and there is no cost for alligator tags issued to non-lottery alligator hunters.  Lottery alligator hunters may be required to pay a set fee per alligator tag issued.  These fees are in lieu of payments normally made to the Department for the value of alligators harvested.

Residents not possessing or having permission to harvest alligators on private lands or public lands/lakes can harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

Non-residents can only harvest alligators as an alligator sport hunter while accompanied by a guide.

A guide must be an alligator hunter possessing tags. An alligator Sport Hunter License cost $25 for Louisiana residents and $150 for non-residents.

Alligator Program


The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (Department) manages the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) as a commercial, renewable natural resource. The goals of the Department's alligator program are to manage and conserve Louisiana's alligators as part of the state's wetland ecosystem, provide benefits to the species, its habitat and the other species of fish and wildlife associated with alligators. The basic philosophy was to develop a sustained use management program which, through regulated harvest, would provide long term benefits to the survival of the species, maintain its habitats, and provide significant economic benefits to landowners, alligator farmers and alligator hunters. Since Louisiana's coastal alligator habitats are primarily privately owned (approximately 81%), our sustained use management program provides direct economic benefit and incentive to private landowners, and alligator hunters/farmers who lease land, to protect the alligator and to protect, maintain, and enhance the alligator's wetland habitats.

The Department's sustained use program is one of the world's most recognizable examples of a wildlife conservation success story. Louisiana's program has been used as a model for managing various crocodilian species throughout the world. Since the inception of the Department's program in 1972, over 810,000 wild alligators have been harvested, over 6.5 million alligator eggs have been collected, and over 3.5 million farm raised alligators have been sold bringing in millions of dollars of revenue to landowners, trappers and farmers. Conservative estimates have valued these resources at over $704,000,000, providing significant, direct economic benefit to Louisiana.

Commercial trade in alligators is regulated through the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). While the alligator is not endangered or threatened anywhere in the U.S., it is listed on Appendix II of CITES due to its similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilian species. CITES requirements are implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). On an annual basis the Department must provide to the USFWS a "finding of no detriment" stating that Louisiana's harvest and export of alligators are not detrimental to the survival of the species.

The Department's alligator program can be separated into three categories: wild alligator management, alligator farming/ranching program and nuisance alligator program.


Louisiana's wild alligator management program involves:

  • annual coastal nest surveys to index populations
  • calculate 50+ wild alligator harvest quotas
  • execute the annual wild alligator harvest
  • collect, analyze, and interpret necessary data,
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and hunters
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements
  • conduct necessary research activities

Louisiana's alligator farming/ranching program involves:

  • monitor compliance with farm facility requirements
  • facilitate alligator egg collections; set egg harvest quotas and issue permits
  • verify/account for farm inventories and harvest tags
  • process farm-raised alligators for release into wild
  • inspect live alligator and alligator hide shipments
  • collect, analyze and interpret necessary data
  • provide technical assistance to landowners and farmers
  • ensure compliance with CITES and USFWS requirements

Louisiana's nuisance alligator program involves:

  • minimize/alleviate alligator/human conflicts
  • manage a statewide network of nuisance alligator hunters
  • receive and process nuisance alligator complaints
  • assign complaints to nuisance hunters
  • ensure hunter compliance with nuisance alligator policy
  • review and analyze nuisance alligator complaints and harvest data annually

Agenda Announced for Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Commission September Meeting

Release Date: 08/25/2010

The next regular Commission Meeting will be held at 9:30 AM on Thursday, September 2, 2010, in the Louisiana Room at the Wildlife and Fisheries Building, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA.

The following items will be discussed:

1. Roll Call

2. Approval of Minutes of July 14, 2010 and August 5, 2010

3. Commission Special Announcements/Personal Privilege

4. To receive and hear check presentation to Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation

5. To receive and hear Update on Oil Spill and Current Response Efforts

6. To receive and hear Presentation of Boating Law Enforcement Office of the Year

7. To receive and hear Enforcement & Aviation Reports/August

8. To receive and hear Update on Whooping Crane Reintroduction Proposal

9. To receive and hear Office of Wildlife Oil Spill Presentation

10. To receive and consider Declaration of Emergency and Notice of Intent on Fisheries Closures due to Oil Spill

11. To receive and consider Notice of Intent to Adopt Gear Regulations for Lafourche Lake in Caldwell Parish

12. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to modify the rule for Commercial Harvest of Spotted Seatrout - Commercial Season and Places

13. To receive and consider a Notice of Intent to Amend Oyster Survey Rules as a Result of Act 392 of the 2010 Regular Session

14. Set January 2011 Meeting Date

15. Receive Public Comments

16. Adjournment


Clear Creek

Forest Capital Partners, LLC.
54,269 Acres
(337) 491-2576

Additional information may be obtained from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1213 North Lakeshore Drive, Lake Charles, LA 70601.

Catahoula Lake


Camp Beauregard

Louisiana National Guard
12,500 Acres
(318) 371-3050

Camp Beauregard Wildlife Management Area is primarily located in northeast Rapides Parish with some acreage in southeast Grant Parish. The area lies approximately eight miles north of Alexandria.
Camp Beauregard is 12,500 acres and is owned by the Louisiana National Guard. The primary use is as a troop training facility. The Louisiana National Guard also manages the timber for commercial production.
The terrain is characterized by gently rolling hills in the upland areas. The Flagon Creek bottom is a frequently flooded hardwood area of about 800 acres. The upland overstory is dominated by pine plantations. There are scattered hardwoods in the hills. Water oak, post oak, hickory, red oak and sweetgum are the most common species in creek bottom areas. The Flagon bottom is a typical bottomland forest with cypress, overcup oak and bitter pecan the dominant overstory species.
The understory development in the upland area varies considerably depending on the degree of overstory closure. Some plantations that have not been recently thinned have little if any understory. Those areas with good understory development support French mulberry, blackberry, greenbrier, yaupon, trumpet creeper, rattan and other browse plants. The Flagon bottom has swamp privet, water elm, mayhaw and swamp snowbell as the more common understory plants.
Game species available for hunting include squirrel, turkey, deer, rabbits, quail, dove, wood duck and woodcock. The only endangered species known to occur on the area is the red-cockaded woodpecker. However, at this time no known active colonies are present.
The areas first function is as a military reservation, therefore there are special regulations applying to use of Camp Beauregard WMA. An annual permit is required as is checking in and out of self-clearing stations on a daily basis. Limited camping is allowed by reservation only. Call (318) 641-3365 for questions about camping. General information is available from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 1995 Shreveport Highway, Pineville, LA 71360.


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
11,262 Acres
(318) 757-4571

Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area is located in Tensas Parish, 14 miles west of St. Joseph. Major access routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4 and 128, and parish roads such as Clydesdale Road and Honeysuckle Lane provide additional access. ATV trails and hiking trails provide access into the interior of the area.
Buckhorn WMA is comprised of approximately 11,262 acres, including 200 acres of lakes and water bottoms, and slightly over 8,000 acres of bottomland hardwood timber. Approximately 2,300 acres of previously cultivated farmland were added to the WMA between 2001 and 2003, with the majority of this acquisition scheduled for reforestation and wetland management. An additional 650 acres of agricultural land is currently being reforested and/or managed as public dove hunting fields. Topography of the WMA is characterized by undulating ridges and swales, with elevations ranging from 50 to 70 feet MSL.
Primary timber species on the area are water oak, willow oak, Nuttall oak, overcup oak, hackberry, sweetgum, tupelo gum, sweet and bitter pecan, ash, honey locust, willow, and elm. The forest canopy is generally closed, with a moderate mid-story of less dominant trees and shrubs. However, the understory is extremely dense in nearly all locations, with palmetto, rattan, greenbrier, dewberry, baccharis, buttonbush, and switchcane found in most all wooded areas.
No major streams are located on the area, but six small bayous flow through the area, providing approximately 13 miles of waterways. Six small lakes are located on the area, including Marydale Lake, the largest at 115 acres, Saddletree Lake, and Turkey Lake. All lakes and streams are subject to backwater flooding from the Tensas River, and all receive turbid runoff from the surrounding agricultural areas.
Game species found on the area include whitetailed deer, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons. Several waterfowl impoundments are available for hunting during the winter months. Mourning doves are common throughout the agricultural areas, and each year the department plants one or two areas specifically to provide hunting opportunities for doves. Buckhorn WMA does not support a huntable turkey population, and the area is closed to turkey hunting. Because of the extremely dense understory, small game hunting can be difficult. However, deer hunting is extremely popular with both archery and gun hunters, and hunter success rates are generally high because of the large deer population.
Trapping for furbearers is allowed, and the species available are raccoon, otter, coyote, bobcat, fox, nutria, mink, beaver, and opossum. Buckhorn is now included in the public lottery hunt for alligators. Five tags are issued to each successful hunter, determined by the yearly lottery drawings.
Fishing on Buckhorn WMA is seasonally popular and also limited by the lack of available aquatic habitat. However, bass, bream, crappie, white bass, and catfish can be caught by sport fishermen, and commercial fishermen take buffalo, carp, gar, catfish, and freshwater drum.
Diverse habitats attract a variety of non-game bird species, both migratory and resident. Spring birdwatching is popular on the area, especially during periods of the northward migration, and the extensive forested areas provide birdwatchers with opportunities to view transient bird species. The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Buckhorn WMA in its Important Birding Areas Program.
A nature trail on the north end of Brushy Lake has been completed. This trail provides a unique opportunity for nature lovers to enjoy both aquatic and terrestrial aspects of the bottomland hardwoods ecosystem.
Additional information may be obtained from LDWF, P.O. Box 1640, Ferriday, LA 71334.

Bonnet Carre Spillway

7,623 Acres


Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
50,971 Acres
(318) 343-2417

Boeuf Wildlife Management Area is located in Caldwell and Catahoula Parishes, 10 miles southeast of Columbia. Major routes to the area are Louisiana Highways 4, 559, 133 and 848. Parish roads provide access to the interior from the north, south, and west, with Boeuf River providing boat access along the eastern boundary. There is a system of unimproved roads and trails but four-wheel drive vehicles or ATV's are necessary during wet periods. Boeuf is approximately 50,971 acres of bottomland hardwoods and wetland habitat purchased by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Acquisitions to the area have been steady since the initial purchase in 1977. The terrain is flat and poorly drained, with numerous backwater lakes, sloughs, and bayous. Areas of Boeuf are subject to frequent flooding from Boeuf River and Bayou Lafourche. The forest overstory is a relatively closed stand of mixed bottomland hardwoods. On higher elevations the predominant tree species are willow oak, water oak, Nuttall's oak, rock elm, sweetgum, and persimmon. Important species in the lower elevations are overcup oak, bitter pecan, and honey locust, with cypress and tupelo gum being found in sloughs and old lakes. Understory species include deciduous holly, hawthorn, swamp privet, rattan, greenbriar and grape. Boeuf Wildlife Management Area offers many recreational opportunities for sportsmen, trappers, commercial fishermen, and other groups interested in the outdoors. Game species available for hunting include deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, ducks, turkeys, quail, doves, woodcock and snipe. Alligator hunters are selected by public lottery, and 35 alligator tags are issued for the WMA. A greentree reservoir and several moist soil impoundments are available for waterfowl and other wetland species. These areas along with the natural waterways, sloughs, and brakes offer excellent waterfowl hunting and viewing potential. Two dove fields provide further recreation for sportsmen. Turkeys were released on the area in the 1960's, but the turkey flock has not expanded due to severe annual flooding events. Boeuf has three designated camping areas and ten boat launches open to the public.

Syndicate content