The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved two separate notices of intent concerning alligator regulations at their Dec. 7 meeting.
The first notice of intent dealt with the return rate and release length for farm-raised alligators. The notice of intent changes the minimum return rate of farm-raised alligators to the wild from at least 14 percent to 12 percent at 48 inches total length. Each alligator shall be returned to the original egg collection area within a maximum time of two years from the date of hatching.
The notice of intent also changes the release length of farm-raised alligators from a maximum of 60 inches to 54 inches and keeps the 36-inch minimum. Credit will not be given for inches above 54; however, each farmer will be allowed to return a maximum of 5 percent of their total release due in any given year in the size range of 55 to 60 inches total length. No alligator over 60 inches will be accepted for release. Female alligators should make up at least 50 percent of the returned sex ratio.
The second notice of intent included firearm usage for the take of wild alligators, application requirements for wild alligator harvest tags and extra time allowed for alligator farmers for tagging farm raised alligator skins. It additionally would establish East and West Alligator Hunting Zones, set up wild season opening dates and require alligator farmers and dealers to provide belly width measurements on farm raised alligator skins. Details on this proposal include:
Prohibiting the use of shotguns while hunting or taking wild alligators, except as authorized by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for the taking of nuisance alligators by nuisance alligator hunters.
Requiring land managers and hunters to carry a signed document from the landowner verifying their selection to represent the landowner and the total acreage represented to obtain alligator hide tags. Currently a notarized documentation is required.
Allowing alligator farmers to have seven days to process farm raised alligators before applying the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) harvest tags to the farm alligator skins. However, during the time frame of the open wild season, farmers would still be required to tag their farm raised alligator skins within 48 hours of harvest. This same time frame would apply to farm raised alligator that die unexpectedly on an alligator farm.
Establishing East and West Alligator Hunting Zones to be divided by the following boundary: beginning at the southwestern most part of Point Au Fer Island thence north along the western boundary of Terrebonne Parish to the Atchfalaya River, thence north along the Atchafalaya River to the East Atchafalaya Protection Levee, thence north along the East Atchafalaya Protection Levee to Interstate 10, thence east along I-10 to Interstate 12, thence east along I-12 to Interstate 55, thence north along I-55 to the Mississippi state line. The season for taking wild alligators shall open on the last Wednesday of August In the East Zone and the first Wednesday of September in the West Zone. Each zone will remain open for 30 days after the start.
Requiring Farm-raised alligator skins report requirements to include the total belly width in centimeters.
Public comment on these notices of intent can be submitted to Philip Bowman, Fur and Refuge Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, prior to Feb. 1, 2007.
For more information, contact Noel Kinler at 337-373-0032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.