Alligator Hunting Begins In East Texas April 1

It is a first for East Texans. An open season for alligator hunting.  

The state once thought there was not a huntable population of alligators in Texas, but now officials say there is a surplus.

Twenty-three south Texas counties have always had the option. Now local sportsman will have the option.

"Over the last years, (alligators) have migrated up stream and began to set up in a lot of places," said biologist Nathan Garner.

The new season begins Sunday, April 1.

But before you grab a hook set or an alligator gig, Game Warden Tony Norton says there are more than a dozen rules you must follow. First and foremost, you have to have a hunting license. From there, you can only use certain equipment.

"They can take a hook set which is a hook and a line," Tony explained. "They can be taken by lawful archery equipment. They can be taken by a gig or firearms as long as it's a centerfire, firearm."

But it is not just what you can use hunt a gator, it is also where you can hunt a gator.

"You have to be on private property to take the alligator," Tony said. "You can take the alligator from public water, but the hook set has to be set on private property."

That means no hunting gators in a state park. Once a gator has been captured or killed, you are required to fill out a wildlife resource document and an alligator hide report. Both must be sent to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department headquarters in Austin. The department sends you the cite tag, you put it on the gator.

Oh yeah, and be careful.  Alligators can be very dangerous at close range!