Alligators have been hunted for their hides since the 19th century. Until 1972, when the Louisiana alligator wild harvest program began, there were no real regulations governing their harvest, which caused a sharp decline in the population. Today all tags and contracts are issued by the LDWF (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries). A hugely successful program, it’s used as a model by other states to manage and conserve wild alligators.

GETTING TAGS: To qualify for the tags, resident hunters must hunt on their own land or leased land that is classified as wetlands habitat. Regulated harvesting benefits the species, its wetland habitat and has long-term economic benefits for landowners and alligator hunters. Since the program’s inception, the LDWF reports that more than 810,000 harvested wild alligators have provided an estimated $704 million in economic benefits. Currently over 2,000 licensed alligator hunters harvest 30,000 to 35,000 wild alligators annually in Louisiana.

DON’T FEED THE GATORS: It is illegal to kill, harass, molest or attempt to move an alligator in Louisiana. The state also cautions people about the dangers of feeding alligators or throwing fish scraps into the water. Besides attracting more alligators, the food helps them overcome their natural fear of humans.

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