Points system for alligator tags is working as expected
Chris Nix, Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries’ Alligator Program Coordinator, said a preference points system was implemented for the 2014 alligator season, and it is working as expected. For each year an applicant fails to draw a tag, the points are cubed with a point added for the current year.
“If you have applied since 2014 and haven’t been drawn, you will have 65 points now,” Nix said. “It’s not guaranteed, but those people are highly likely to get drawn now. The longer the point system is in place, the quicker the turnover for people who haven’t gotten a tag.”
To ensure that new applicants had a shot at a tag, Nix said that 85 percent of the tags are filled with applicants with preference points and the remaining 15 percent are allocated to those with no points. Once a person is drawn, the preference points are zeroed out. Preference points are also lost if the person fails to apply for a tag.
The 2018 alligator season parameters are the same as last year with 260 total tags statewide – 150 in the Southwest Zone, 50 in the West Central Zone, 40 in the Southeast Zone and 20 in the Lake Eufaula Zone. Hunting is from sunset to sunrise.
Season dates for the Southwest Zone and the West Central Zone are sunset on August 9 until sunrise on August 12 and sunset on August 16 until sunrise on August 19. The Southwest Zone includes private and public waters in Baldwin and Mobile counties and private and public waters in Washington, Clarke and Monroe counties that lie east of U.S. Highway 43 and south of U.S. Highway 84.
Nix said between 60 and 70 percent of the tags are filled annually, but it’s not because of a lack of alligators, especially in the Southwest Zone.
“We could have a 100-percent success rate in the Southwest Zone every year,” he said. “People pass up gators they wish they had tagged. It’s just like deer hunting. Most people don’t shoot the first buck that walks into the field. People usually don’t take the first alligator they see.
“But to each his own. We had a couple that brought in two 4-footers last year, and they were as happy as could be.”