Wildlife & Hunting

Public Waters Alligator Hunting Info

Alligator season opens on the last Friday in August each year. Permits for alligator hunting are by Special Permit only.

Public Water Season: 12:00 Noon August 27 until 12:00 Noon September 6, 2021


Applications will be accepted beginning at 10:00 a.m. June 1 - 10:00 a.m. June 8.



Northwest                          40                          Southwest          190

Northeast                          130                         South Central     150

West Central                      190                         Southeast          160

Pearl/Ross Barnett              100


Application Process FAQs 

When are applications available?

Applications will be offered beginning at 10:00 a.m. June 1 until 10:00 a.m. on June 8, 2021.  

Who can apply?

  • To be eligible to purchase an alligator hunting permit application you must be at least 16 years of age at the time of purchase.
  • AND
  • Must possess one of the following valid resident licenses to be eligible: Sportsman License, All-Game Hunting/Fishing License, Small Game Hunting/Fishing License, Apprentice Sportsman License, Apprentice All Game License, Apprentice Small Game License, Senior Exempt License, Disabled Exempt License, or a Lifetime License.
  • NO Exceptions.

If you do not currently possess one of the pre-requisite licenses listed above:  You may purchase a pre-requisite license online Purchase Licenses Here , then immediately return to purchase your alligator hunting application.  

How much does the application cost?

  • Applications are free, a processing fee of $2.29 to $2.34, depending on purchasing method, will be charged. A credit card or debit card is required for on-line purchases.

How many times can I apply?

  • Customers may purchase an application in only one Alligator Hunting Zone of their choice.
  • There are 7 Zones: Northwest, Northeast, West Central, Southwest, South Central, Southeast, and the Pearl Ross Barnett Zone.

Where are applications sold?

  • Applications are only accepted via purchase at any location that sells MS Hunting/Fishing Licenses, by phone (1-800-5GO-HUNT), and online via the MDWFP Webpage.

APPLICATION NOTE: At the time of application, customers are encouraged to review their application receipt or email confirmation to be sure that they have applied for the correct zone and that their email address is correct.  If there is an error on your receipt, customers should call the MDWFP immediately to make corrections ph. (601) 432-2055. 

When will the drawing take place?

  • A random drawing for each hunting zone will be completed on about June 14 by a third-party-entity.
  • A second drawing will occur on about June 22 to draw winners to fill any unpurchased permits that remain from the first drawing in each alligator hunting zone.
  • The second drawing will consist of all applicants who were not drawn in the first drawing.
  • The second drawing will occur only for zones that have unpurchased permits remaining from the first drawing.

How will winners be notified? 

  • Winners will be notified via email with a link to purchase their permit.
  • An email address is required (notifications will be sent to winners via email).
  • Winners of the 1st Drawing will have until 12:00 Noon on June 16 to complete their online permit purchase.
  • The permit cost is $200.
  • Winners of the 2nd drawing will be notified by email and will also be provided a link to purchase their permit.  They will have until 12:00 Noon on June 24 to complete their online permit purchase..
  • Customers may return to the Application Purchasing Page to “Check status” at any time and “Update Customer Information” between June 1-8.  

How will I receive my permits and tags?

  • A 2021 Alligator Hunting Guide and a complete information packet will be included with your Permit.
  • Winners who successfully purchase their permit will receive their Permit/License/Tags in the mail in approximately 2 weeks.
  • The Temporary Possession Tags are attached to the paper Permit/License and are to be torn off, signed, and placed onto your alligator, as required.


Regulations and Hunting Zone Information:


Alligator Season Harvest History 

Public Water Harvest Summaries - 2012-2016 HERE

View the 2020 and other annual Alligator Hunting Season Harvest Summaries HERE










Number of Permits







# Those Permitted Who Participated

858 (87.0%)

816 (85.4%)

803 (86.3%)

756 (82.7%)

804  (91.2%)

997  (87.5%)

# People Participating







Avg. Hunting Party

3.8 people

3.8 people

3.8 people

3.8 people

3.8 people

3.7 people

Successful Hunters

596 (69.5)

617 (75.5%)

536 (66.7%)

519  (68.7%)

552  (69.3%)

693  (69.5%)

Alligators Harvested







<7 feet / >7 feet long

53% / 47%


54% / 46%


56% /44% (428/333)

57% /43%  (423/318)

52% / 48% (412/372)

53% / 47% (524/458)

Caught and Released







Hours Spent Hunting/Gator Harvested








Download the 2021 Alligator Hunting Guide



Where can you hunt on a public waters permit?

Each permit is limited to a specific hunting zone.

There are seven geographical public water alligator hunting zones.

  1. NORTHEAST (excluding all portions of the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone) 
  7. PEARL RIVER/ROSS BARNETT (see Regulations for complete description) 
  • ONLY "public waterways" within each zone, as defined by MDEQ, will be open to hunting. No other public water will be open to alligator hunting, except the lakes within the Northeast, Northwest, West Central, and Southwest Zone, listed specifically below.   To view which "public waterways" in each zone are open to hunting, view the maps below.
  • Including:
    • Crystal Lake (Rankin Co.) in the Northeast Zone
    • Okatibbee Lake (Lauderdale Co.) in the Northeast Zone
    • Lake Ferguson (Washington County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Beulah Lake (Bolivar County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Lake Bolivar (Bolivar County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Lake Whittington (Bolivar County) in the Northwest Zone
    • Eagle Lake (Warren County) in the West Central Zone
    • Chotard Lake (Warren and Issaquena Counties) in the West Central Zone
    • Albemarle Lake (Issaquena County) in the West Central Zone
    • Tennessee Lake (Issaquena County) in the West Central Zone
    • Lake Washington (Washington County) in the West Central Zone
    • Bee Lake (Holmes County) in the West Central Zone
    • Little Eagle Lake (Humphreys County) in the West Central Zone
    • Dump Lake (Yazoo County) in the West Central Zone
    • Lake George (Yazoo County) in the West Central Zone
    • Tchula Lake (Holmes Co.) in the West Central Zone * NEW 2018
    • Lake Mary (Wilkinson County) in the Southwest Zone



For those permitted in the following MS Pubic Water Zones:

  1. Northeast
  2. Northwest
  3. West Central
  4. Southwest
  5. South Central
  6. Southeast


  1. Legal public water for public water alligator hunters include any public waterway, as designated by MDEQ, and all associated portions of each drainage that are not privately owned and have navigable access from the designated waterway.
  2. For those who hunt on or near state borderline waters, such as the Mississippi River, lower Pearl River (in Pearl River and Hancock Counties), Eagle Lake, Chotard Lake, Albermarle Lake, Tennessee Lake, Lake Ferguson, Lake Whittington, and Lake Beulah,
  3. BE ADVISED, to cross the state border while pursuing alligators into any water that is not part of Mississippi will be considered illegal alligator hunting by the adjoining state (i.e. AR & LA). It shall be the hunter's responsibility to be aware of state borders. 

NOTICE Public waterways VS. Public Water - Do not confuse the two terms, in regards to the Public Waters Alligator Season. ONLY the public waters of the state designated as "Public Waterways" by the MS Dept. of Environmental Quality are open to alligator hunting.  The only exceptions are the lakes listed above.  Hunters must become familiar with the rivers designated on the MDEQ website (see link above).  Not all "public waters" are considered as "public waterways." 

NOTE:  State Boundary Line Waters: There are NO reciprocal license agreements with adjacent states (AR & LA) for alligator hunting. Therefore, anyone licensed to legally hunt alligators in MS may only hunt in MS waters.  It is the hunter's responsibility to know his/her location in regards to state boundaries.  Reciprocal license agreements allow hunters/fishermen to legally hunt/fish in adjacent state line waters with either state's license when both states have concurrent seasons or creel limits. THIS IS NOT APPLICABLE TO ALLIGATOR HUNTING.



West Central Zone Hunters:  Be aware that alligator hunting access is allowed to permitted hunters at the Panther Swamp NWR boat ramp located at Lake George on Callihan Road and at the Parker Bayou Boat Ramp located off of Old Hwy 49 adjacent to Hillside NWR.  Federal agents will enforce a no alligator hunting restriction north of the Callihan Road bridge and east of Hwy 49 .  Be certain that all ammunition is stored separately.

Northeast Zone Hunters:  Be aware to consult U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACOE) regulations regarding hunting activities and boat ramp use before hunting USACOE regulated waterways. Special permits from the USACOE may be required. Some USACOE refuge areas are closed to all hunting.  For complete information, go to their website at  Then click on "Wildlife", then click on "Hunting Permit Program".  You may also call (662) 327-2142.  Additionally, the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone IS NOT open for Northeast Zone Permit holders. No portion of Ross Barnett Reservoir or Pelahatchie Bay is open for Northeast Zone Permit holders.

Pearl River/Ross Barnett Zone Hunters: The only area open for hunting is as follows: The public waters of the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District only within the area north of a line from Fannin Landing to Channel Marker "A" to the Natchez Trace Overlook on the main lake of Ross Barnett Reservoir, and south of Lowhead Dam on the Pearl River (excluding all areas of the main lake that are west of the Natchez Trace, i.e. North Bay and Twin Harbors).  The area south of a line from Fannin Landing to Channel Marker "A" to the Natchez Trace Overlook on the main lake of Ross Barnett Reservoir and Pelahatchie Bay is closed to alligator hunting.

ALL ZONES: Only lakes that are described specifically within each Zone are open to alligator hunting. 

NO other lakes are open.  



The MS Alligator Hunting Training Course is now available online through a series of 11 video segments.  They may be viewed at anytime at your leisure. The training course provides information on alligator history, biology, MDWFP Alligator Program, all alligator hunting regulations, capture methods, capture gear, harvest methods, processing meat and hides, harvest reporting and documentation, how/where to purchase licenses and possession permits, and much more.


Please click on the link below for the NEW Online Alligator Hunting Training Course on YouTube. There are 11 video segments including a FAQ segment that is very helpful.


Obtaining CITES Tags after the harvest

A federal CITES tag is required to be attached to the hide near the end of the tail if being sold to a licensed alligator parts dealer/processor or before transportation across state lines. A CITES tag(s) will be mailed to you upon receipt of your harvest report.  CITES tags may also be obtained from Regional Offices in person, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

  • The wildlife agencies of Arkansas and Louisiana have specifically approved that properly licensed hunters with legally harvested alligators with properly attached
    temporary possession tags are legal to transport through their respective
  • A federal CITES Tag must be attached to the head/hide/carcass if left in possession of a person, processor, or buyer in any other state than Mississippi. 
  • Never sell a hide or carcass to anyone who does not require a CITES tag. 


  • Jackson Main Office, Wildlife Bureau - (601) 432-2217
  • North Region Office, Enid - (662) 563-6222
  • Central Region Office, Canton - (601) 859-3421
  • South Region Office, Magnolia - (601) 783-2911


Mississippi Processors Information

Alligators legally harvested and properly tagged by permitted alligator hunters may only be sold to:

  • A licensed MS Agent Alligator Trapper
  • A person who possesses a Mississippi Fur Dealer's License.
  • A person who is licensed to purchase alligators in another state (in the state of licensure).

The following contacts are MDWFP approved cooperating buyers and processors.  They have CITES Tags on hand for your convenience.  They will not receive any alligator or hide that is not properly tagged with a Mississippi Temporary Possession Tag.


  • Woodrow (Woody) Cain,  BULK MEAT PROCESSING and SKINNING ONLY, 2133 Old Hwy 61 N., Port Gibson, MS  39150, PH (601) 618-8261.
    • Hours: Open 24 hours during the open season. Call ahead to make arrangements.
    • CITES Tags on site.


  • Dewayne Denton, MEAT PROCESSING ONLY, 338 Denton Rd. Holcomb, MS  38940. PH (662) 310-3337.
    • Hours: 8AM until 8PM daily or call ahead to make arrangements.
    • CITES Tags on site.


  • Red Antler Processing, MEAT PROCESSING ONLY, Christopher Smith, 14688 HWY 49, Yazoo City, MS 39194 PH. (662) 716-7363, (662) 998-2879
    • 24 Hours 
    • Head and hide will be returned to customer with processing.
    • CITES Tags on site.
    • Scales on site.
    • Snatch hooks, harpoons, harpoon points, snares, and bouys, in stock and available in store.


Alligator Skinning and Tanning Instructions

Record Alligator Certification Procedures

Hunters who wish to certify an alligator as a potential state record of harvest should contact the MDWFP at (601) 432-2217 or (after business hours) (601) 432-2170.  Hunters should be prepared to provide the following information at the time of your call:

  1. Total length (feet-inches)
  2. Belly girth (inches)
  3. Tail girth (inches)
  4. Weight (lbs) (only needed if a potential weight record, plus length and girth measurements)

The Alligator Program Coordinator will return the call ASAP, usually within 24 hours.  If deemed a potential record by the program coordinator, arrangements will be made to meet with MDWFP personnel to obtain an official weight or length measurement.

Regarding Weight Records: Since weights are so difficult to estimate and vary greatly, hunters must pre-weigh their alligator before contacting the MDWFP. If certified scales are not available, then efforts should be made by the hunter to obtain a weight from a reputable source of scales. Weight certification must be on certified scales or other MDWFP approved scales and witnessed by an MDWFP officer or biologist.

Measuring tips:

  1. Lay the alligator on a flat surface with the carcass laying completely flat and straight. Using a cloth measuring tape, measure along the dorsal side (top) of the alligator from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail following the dorsal contour of the alligator.
  2. Measure to the nearest 1/8 inch. 
  3. For weight, be sure the alligator is completely suspended from the ground. 
  4. For weight, be sure to "zero tare" the scales when chains or straps are used to hoist the alligator before hoisting the alligator for measuring the weight. Chains and straps should not be included in the weight measurement.




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