Friday, August 11, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Locals get to chase gators


Thousands of Arkansans have been waiting on pins and needles for the last few weeks to find out if they were one of the lucky few who drew a chance at harvesting an alligator in Arkansas this year. Today, 101 individuals got the good news, including some in Leader’s local coverage area.

They include for Zone 1 private land, Michael Clark of Jacksonville and Ryan Dewey of Cabot. For Zone 1’s Bois D’Arc Wildlife Management Area, John Call of Ward and Jimmy Perkins of Lonoke were awarded permits.

Lonoke’s Michael McFadden will hunt Zone 1’s Millwood Lake area, and Beebe’s Michael Gillion drew a permit for Zone 3’s Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex.

Arkansas’s 2017 alligator season is Sept. 15-18 and Sept. 22-25, and hunting is only allowed at night.

All permit winners must attend a hunter orientation class before being issued temporary tags. Mandatory orientation classes for permit holders will be held August 19 in Hope and Monticello and August 26 at the AGFC Headquarters in Little Rock.

Successful private land at-large applicants must provide written landowner permission and a map of their proposed hunt area.

Alligator hunting isn’t for the faint of heart. Hunters scan the surface of the water with spotlights from a boat, pinpointing alligators before easing up to them with a harpoon or handheld snare.

Permit winners are allowed up to three assistants, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon and dispatch the alligator. Arkansas alligator hunters must completely subdue the gator before finishing it with a shotgun or shotgun shell-loaded bang stick using shot no larger than No. 4 common shot.