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Alligator Hunting

Licenses

Licenses required to harvest alligators in Louisiana depend on your residency status and your access to private and/or public lands/lakes.

Residents

Residents may hunt alligators on private lands they either own or have permission to hunt or on public lands/lakes with access granted via bidding or lottery. They must have a valid Alligator Hunter License and alligator harvest tags. Hunters must carry on their person their license as well as one or more current alligator harvest tags for the property on which they are hunting. Tags are property specific and must be used on the property indicated on the hunter’s license. Alligator hunters must also have their license in possession to possess or sell wild alligators, their skins, or parts. Resident Alligator Hunter Licenses cost $25. There are no additional fees to harvest alligators on private lands. Fees to harvest alligators on public lands/lakes vary in cost, depending on the program (lottery or commercial bid) and the agreed-upon value for each alligator harvested.  

Individuals harvesting alligators for a licensed alligator hunter must possess a Helper License. Licensed helpers can hunt independently of the licensed alligator hunter. Anyone actively participating in the take of alligators by baiting or checking lines, dispatching alligators with a firearm, snaring the alligator by hook and line, shooting the alligator with a bow and arrow, or any other activity that leads to the take of the alligator, must be properly licensed. Anyone solely acting as an observer, or who is not otherwise actively involved in the pursuit, capture, or killing of the alligator, does not need an alligator license. A Helper License costs $25 and must bear the name and license number of the associated hunter(s). Only residents may apply for a Helper License.

Alligator hunters who have already applied for an Alligator Hunter or Helper license may now pay for their license online at the link below. PLEASE NOTE: This is not an option for new hunters who have not previously been issued an alligator license. Alligator hunters who pay for their license online will still be required to pick up their license and tags in person at their tag-issuing LDWF office.

Residents who do not have access to either private or public lands/lakes may harvest alligators for sport as a licensed Alligator Sport Hunter while accompanied by a guide (a licensed alligator hunter, or his or her helper, who possesses alligator harvest tags). Sport hunters must always be accompanied by a licensed hunter or helper. LDWF maintains a list of potential guides. Resident Alligator Sport Hunter Licenses cost $25.

Nonresidents

Nonresident landowners may hunt alligators on private lands they own with an Alligator Hunter License and alligator harvest tags. Hunters must carry on their person their license as well as one or more current alligator harvest tags for the property on which they are hunting. Tags are property specific and must be used on the property indicated on the hunter’s license. Alligator hunters must also have their license in possession to possess or sell wild alligators, their skins, or parts. Nonresident Landowner Alligator Hunter Licenses cost $150. There is no cost for alligator tags for private lands.

Nonresidents who do not own land may only harvest alligators for sport as a licensed Alligator Sport Hunter while accompanied by a guide (a licensed alligator hunter, or his or her helper, who possesses alligator harvest tags). Sport hunters must always be accompanied by a licensed hunter or helper. LDWF maintains a list of potential guides. Nonresident Alligator Sport Hunter Licenses cost $150.

 

Alligator Harvest Tags for Private Lands

LDWF issues alligator harvest tags for private lands containing sufficient wetland habitat capable of sustaining an alligator harvest. Licensed alligator hunters apply for alligator tags prior to the start of the season each year. Alligator tags are only issued to licensed alligator hunters and are nontransferable. To apply, you must submit the following:

  • A completed alligator hunter license application form
  • Proof of property ownership (tax receipts or bill of sale) containing parish, township, range, section, and acreage
  • A map outlining the property to be hunted
  • The landowner's signature indicating permission for the hunter to harvest alligators on the property
  • If applicable, a legal alligator hunting lease may be submitted.

Public Lands/Lakes Lottery

Residents who do not have access to harvest alligators on private lands may be able to harvest alligators on public lands or lakes. These public lands/lakes are managed by many different entities ranging from local parish governments to federal government agencies. Alligator hunters are selected to hunt these areas through bidding and lotteries.

Through the Lottery Alligator Harvest Program, LDWF provides more than 400 resident alligator hunters the opportunity to harvest approximately 1,245 alligators on over 40 wildlife management areas and public lakes throughout the state. Lottery applications are available mid-May of each year.

Seasons

Louisiana is divided into east and west alligator hunting zones. The east zone opens the last Wednesday of August; the west zone opens the first Wednesday in September. Each zone remains open for 60 days from the opening date. Baited hooks and lines may be set no more than 24 hours prior to open season and shall be removed no later than sunset of the last day of the open season. For more information on alligator hunting zone boundaries, please click on the Alligator Zone Map button below or visit our Outdoor Explorer interactive map and select the Alligator Hunting Zones layer located in the Go Hunting Layer List.

Hunting Hours

Alligators may be harvested between official sunrise and sunset only. Nighttime harvest is prohibited.

Harvest and Size Limits

The daily and season quota is equal to the number of alligator harvest tags that a licensed alligator hunter possesses. There are no size restrictions on wild alligators taken during the open season.

Harvest Methods

Alligator hunters may use hook and line, bow and arrow, and firearms (except shotguns) to harvest alligators. Possession of shotguns is prohibited while hunting or taking wild alligators. The fishing (hook and line) method is the most common and is the only method allowed on public areas.

Hook and line

Baited hooks and lines are suspended above the water by some type of structure. In most cases, alligator hunters will use poles, branches, or trees to suspend baits and provide a stationary object for securing the end of the line. The most commonly used baits are chicken quarters and beef melt. Approximately 30 feet of line is tied off to the bottom of the structure while the baited hook end is suspended about 1 to 2 inches above the water surface. Line must be a minimum of 300-pound test. The baited end is suspended in a way that allows for easy line removal by an alligator. Hunters sometimes use clothespins ­to hold lines to facilitate easy line removal. Excess line is rolled up near the base of the structure. Once alligator lines are set and baited, alligator hunters must inspect their hooks and lines and remove captured alligators daily. Alligators should be dispatched immediately upon checking lines. Shot placement should be centered directly behind the skull. No person shall release any alligator from any harvest device for any purpose without first dispatching the alligator, except in the event that an alligator is hooked and the hunter's quota has been reached. In this case, the hunter must immediately release the alligator in the most humane method possible. All hooks and lines must be removed from the water when an alligator hunter's quota is reached.

Bow and arrow

Alligator hunters may use bow and arrow to capture alligators or dispatch alligators while on hook and line (see above). Hunters must use barbed arrows to capture alligators. A minimum of 300-pound test line must be securely attached to the head of the arrow in a way that prevents separation from the arrow head. The other end of the line must be attached to a stationary or floating object capable of maintaining the line above water when an alligator is attached. Bow and arrow use may be prohibited on public lands/lakes.

Firearms

Alligator hunters may use firearms (except shotguns) to harvest free swimming alligators or dispatch alligators while on hook and line (see above). Hunters should use extreme caution when harvesting free swimming alligators to ensure that alligators can be retrieved once shot. Hunters should practice firearm safety at all times and pay close attention to ricochet hazards. Harvesting free swimming alligators may be prohibited on public lands/lakes.

Video on Louisiana’s Alligator Harvest and Management

Tagging Requirements

You must tag harvested alligators immediately upon harvest before moving them from where they were captured. Place the tag about 6 inches from the end of the tail on the bottom side of the tail. Once the tag is placed through the tail, lock it using the tag’s locking device. The tag must stay affixed to the alligator or alligator hide until the tanned hide is used for product manufacturing. Be careful to not prematurely lock tags or catch tags on objects that may rip out or break tags. Be careful not to lose or drop tags overboard. Tags do not float and will not be replaced if lost.

Unused Alligator Tags

Return all unused alligator tags to LDWF within 15 days following the close of the season.

Lost or Stolen Alligator Tags

If alligator tags are lost or stolen, the alligator hunter must complete an official lost tag form and submit it to LDWF within 15 days following the close of the season. Lost or stolen tags will not be replaced.

Selling and Shipping Alligators

Alligators/alligator hides can only be sold to licensed fur buyers or fur dealers. Most wild alligators are sold whole to fur buyers/dealers at processing facilities. Make sure you have made arrangements to sell alligators prior to setting lines or harvesting alligators.

All alligators/alligator hides not sold to buyers or dealers or shipped for tanning/ taxidermy within 30 days following the close of the season must be reported to LDWF via an official form, with information including tag number, location, intended use, and length.

Alligator Parts

Alligator part: any part of an alligator, excluding the hide and including the bony dorsum plates if detached from the tagged alligator hide

Alligator hunters may give alligator parts to anyone for personal use. Any alligator parts or containers enclosing alligator parts must be tagged with the name, address, date, hide tag number, and the license number of the person donating the alligator part(s). This information must remain affixed until the part(s) has been stored at the domicile of the person receiving the parts. In addition, an alligator transaction parts form must be submitted to LDWF by the end of the calendar year if any parts transaction has taken place.  

Storage, Tanning, or Taxidermy

Alligators/alligator skins may be stored at any location provided that they are properly tagged and documented. An alligator hunter must have any alligators/alligator skins being shipped out of state or being tanned or used for taxidermy instate inspected by LDWF, pay the appropriate tag fee and severance tax and receive a shipping tag prior to shipping. A hunter needing an inspection should contact their regional LDWF office, or the office that issued their license and tags, in advance to schedule the inspection.

Research Alligators

LDWF biologists have marked many alligators for research purposes. Some of these were caught in the wild, and some were released to the wild from commercial farms. These alligators have one or more notches cut out of the tail scutes and two metal tags in the webbing between the toes (usually on the back feet). If you capture a marked research alligator, record the tag number (usually 6 digits) as well as the length, tail notch(es), and sex of the alligator. Submit this information on a form provided by LDWF. Reporting information from tagged alligators is important—this information allows biologists to follow the movement, growth, and survival of alligators and informs management for continued harvests. Note that sometimes the tag is lost as the alligator grows, but the information from the tail notch still lets biologists know what year the alligator was marked.

All alligator hunters should thoroughly review and must follow all current alligator regulations. Alligator hunters harvesting alligators on public areas should review and follow all regulations specific to that area. For more information, check with the regional office responsible for that area prior to commencing any alligator harvest activities.

 

Contact Us

For general information, email laalligatorprogram@wlf.la.gov.

 

Private Lands

If you have questions about harvesting alligators on private lands (what is considered alligator habitat, if your property qualifies for alligator tags, etc.), contact the LDWF staff responsible for administering alligator harvests on private lands for the parish in which the property is located. See map and contact information below.

Baton Rouge
Eric Ledet
225.763.5492
ejledet@wlf.la.gov
PO Box 98000 (mailing address)
2000 Quail Drive (physical address)
Baton Rouge, LA 70890-9000
Minden
Nathan Yeldell
318.371.3050
nyeldell@wlf.la.gov
9961 Highway 80
Minden, LA 71055
New Iberia Zone
Jason Waller or Mike Dupuis
337.735.8672
jwaller@wlf.la.gov
mdupuis@wlf.la.gov
200 Dulles Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
Monroe
John Hanks
318.343.4044
jhanks@wlf.la.gov
368 CenturyLink Drive
Monroe, LA 71203
New Orleans
Eric Ledet
225.763.5492
ejledet@wlf.la.gov
PO Box 98000 (mailing address)
2000 Quail Drive (physical address)
Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000
Lafayette Zone
Chad Gaspard or Ken Moreau
337.262.2080
chgaspard@wlf.la.gov
kmoreau@wlf.la.gov
200 Dulles Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
Rockefeller Refuge
Leisa Nunez or Brodee Landry
337.538.2276
lnunez@wlf.la.gov
blandry@wlf.la.gov
5476 Grand Chenier Highway
Grand Chenier, LA 70643
Pineville
Ben Holten, Justin Ebarb, or Dustin Champagne
318.487.5885
bholten@wlf.la.gov
jebarb@wlf.la.gov
dchampagne@wlf.la.gov
765 Maryhill Road
Pineville, LA 71360
Lake Charles
Kori Legleu
337.491.2575
klegleu@wlf.la.gov
1213 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, LA 70601
 

 

Public Lands/Lakes

If you are interested in obtaining specific public land/lake alligator harvest information (selection methods, requirements, availability, etc.), contact the LDWF staff responsible for that particular public land/lake. See map and contact information below.

Coastal Lafayette Region
Lance Campbell
337.735.8667
ljcampbell@wlf.la.gov
200 Dulles Drive
Lafayette LA 70506
Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion – East
Forest Burks
985.543.4782
fburks@wlf.la.gov
42371 Phyllis Ann Drive
Hammond, LA 70403
Rockefeller Refuge
Scooter Trosclair
337.538.2276
ptrosclair@wlf.la.gov
5476 Grand Chenier Highway
Grand Chenier, LA 70643
Mississippi Alluvial Valley – North (Monroe)
Mitch McGee
318.343.4044
mmcgee@wlf.la.gov
368 CenturyLink Drive
Monroe, LA 71203
Mississippi Alluvial Valley – South (Lafayette)
Tony Vidrine
337.262.2080
tvidrine@wlf.la.gov
200 Dulles Drive
Lafayette, LA 70506
Gulf Coastal Plain – West (Minden)
Czerny Newland
318.371.3050
cnewland@wlf.la.gov
9961 Highway 80
Minden, LA 71055
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
985.853.1078
3599 Bayou Black Drive
Houma, LA 70360
Gulf Coastal Plain – West (Lake Charles)
Wendell Smith
337.491.2599
wsmith@wlf.la.gov
1213 North Lakeshore Drive
Lake Charles, LA 70601
Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
337.598.2216
1428 Highway 27
Bell City, LA 70630