If alligator hunting was something on your list of outdoor activities this year, now is a good time to start thinking about a permit for a fall hunt in any number of southern states with good gator numbers.

Mississippi wildlife officials have reported a spike in gator hunting interest as a result of recent television reality shows featuring alligator hunting. The state’s Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks reported that last year the permitting lottery was flooded with applicants who had no interest other than increasing the odds for their friends.

As a result more than 7,100 residents in Mississippi submitted over 30,000 zone applications for 920 available permits and 682 alligators were harvested, reports the Sun Herald. This year 980 permits will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis on the commissions website beginning July 17 for a 10-day hunting period beginning August 28.

In South Carolina, state officials began offering on-line registration for more than 300 alligator hunting permits. The state has 100,000 gators and holds a 4-week hunting season in September. 

In Florida, gator hunters can submit applications for a permit on May 18-28 through the Florida Wildlife Commission website. About 5,700 alligators will be harvested in Florida during an 11-week hunting season beginning Aug 15, reports the Cape Coral Daily. 

Part of the surge in gator hunting interest has to do with the price of the meat. Gator meet in Florida sells anywhere from $12 to $15 per pound. Shane Brooks, who runs a commercial gator farm told WFTV said that with more than 1.5 million gators in the state, he would like to see the number of hunting permits increased.

“We get calls from big restaurants up north wanting 1,000 pounds a month. We can’t hardly supply our customers we got now. We turn people away all the time,” Brooks told the station.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons by Reinhard Link