Hunters Tag Astonishing 157 Alligators During 2022 Hunting Season

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: markrhiggins

Hunters in Arkansas closed out the 2022 hunting season by tagging a whopping 157 alligators. On Wednesday, the state’s Game and Fish Commission announced that their hunting season had closed.

The state’s alligator hunters get to go out for two weeks at night only to get their chance at tagging the reptiles. Hunters must obtain a permit as well.

Mark Barbee, assistant regional manager in the AGFC’s Monticello Regional Office who organizes the hunt, said the season went as planned and that all successful hunters have been given CITES tags to complete the federal requirements of their harvest.

In addition, the AGFC has to follow survey and harvest protocols annually to maintain Arkansas’s alligator hunting season.

However, not everyone was able to obtain a permit. The AGFC issued 43 public hunting permits, and the hunting was only allowed in specific areas, including the Dr. Lester Sitzes III Bois D’Arc WMA, Little River below Millwood Lake, and the Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex.

In addition, any other area was closed to alligator hunting.

Along with public hunting opportunities, anyone who owned land or had permission to hunt on private lands within the zones could hunt. However, there were stipulations. They had to use a quota-based system the state adhered to.

By the end of the season, hunters harvested 64 alligators in Zone 1. In addition, 13 of them came from public lands.

Hunters also took six alligators were taken from Zone 2. Unfortunately, no public land opportunities were available, so they were harvested from private lands.

Additionally, hunters tagged 87 alligators from Zone 3, 11 of which were harvested on public land.

Arkansas hunters harvest behemoth-sized alligator

“All of the public land hunters I’ve talked to pretty much saw gators,” said Barbee. “But they tend to hold out for a little larger one. Many have told me in the past that they passed on 8- and 9-foot gators, hoping for a 10-footer or better, and time ran out on them. But they always say they had a great experience and an opportunity to harvest.”

In Southwest Arkansas, several hunters caught a giant alligator in the Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area. Jagger East, his friend, and his cousin were hunting on the river when they encountered a “monster” of an alligator.

“We knew he was a big one. But it was when he came out of the water like a dolphin when we went into shock and were wondering how are we going to get this monster in the boat,” said East.

East mentioned that the alligator measured up at a total length of 12 ft 6in. Though they did not have a scale big enough to accurately weigh the gator, East said they estimated him to weigh around 850-900lbs. 

“Our 5,000-pound winch wouldn’t pick him up,” he added.