Mark Barbee, AGFC biologist at the Monticello Regional Office who coordinates the hunt, says this year’s hunting conditions were not as favorable as last year, when hunters took 98 alligators during the season.
“We had some rainy conditions and colder nights this year, but the hunt was still excellent,” Barbee said. “I didn’t talk to any of our hunters that didn’t at least have an opportunity to get a gator.”
The success rate on Arkansas alligator hunts remains extremely high, with only 108 hunting tags available. This year saw the addition of five tags in Alligator Zone 2, the south-central portion of the state, which had never been open to hunting before. However, no alligators were checked from this zone during the hunt.
The southeast zone was responsible for 39 alligators harvested, while the southwest zone had 42 harvested animals. The harvest is typically fairly consistent, with zones trading places in total number of gators checked, depending on the weather and flooding.
Barbee says the only reason for unfilled tags came down to personal preferences of hunters pursuing trophy-size animals.
“It’s pretty much the same story you hear every year that a person has scouted out a particular gator and holds out for that big one instead of just taking one that’s legal,” Barbee said.
One of those holdouts paid off, with a 13-foot, 6-inch monster taken from a private land at-large tag holder in Arkansas County.
“The record still stands at 13-feet, 10-inches, but this one got close,” Barbee said.