The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is a conservation success story. Due to loss of habitat and unregulated market hunting, alligators were reduced to low numbers by the early 1900s. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists and state wildlife agencies, alligators were listed as endangered in 1967. This status, combined with proactive management and law enforcement efforts by wildlife professionals, allowed alligator populations to rebound and they now flourish over most of their historic range. Alligator populations increased to the point that their protected status was downlisted in 1987 allowing greater flexibility to manage populations.
The alligator population in Georgia is one of many renewable natural resources that can sustain limited harvest in concert with biological monitoring and periodic evaluations. Georgia’s flourishing alligator population is managed through a regulated hunting season. Additionally, licensed nuisance alligator agent-trappers annually remove about 170 alligators in the state.
If you are interested in participating in a totally hands-on, eye-to-eye hunting adventure unlike any other hunting experience you can pursue in Georgia, then the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) invites you to submit an application for the opportunity to participate in Georgia’s alligator hunting season.
- The deadline for alligator applications is July 15.
- Alligator Hunt Zones Map
- View previous season Alligator Harvest Summaries
The 2023 season opens at SUNSET on Friday, August 18, 2023, and closes at SUNRISE on Monday, October 2, 2023.
One (1) alligator. Legal alligators must be greater than or equal to 48 inches in length as measured from end of the snout to tip of the tail for Zones 1–9. In Zone 1A (Lake Walter F. George), legal alligators must be greater or equal to 96 inches in length as measured from end of the snout to tip of the tail.
The selected alligator hunter must possess a valid hunting license, an alligator hunting permit, and a harvest record (prints with the alligator hunting permit). If you have a Lifetime Sportsman’s License, Senior Lifetime Hunting License, Youth Sportsman’s/Youth Hunting License, Disability Sportsman’s License, or Honorary License, you won’t need to purchase the alligator harvest permit or a hunting license, but you will need to obtain a harvest record (through your online customer account). Your licenses and harvest record may be maintained in the free Go Outdoors GA app. Hunting Party: Everyone in the hunting party that is at least 16 years old must possess a valid hunting license.
Hunters may use hand-held ropes or snares, snatch hooks, harpoons, gigs or arrows with a restraining line attached. Legal alligators must be dispatched immediately upon capture by using a handgun or bangstick, or by severing the spinal cord with a sharp implement.
Alligators may be hunted during the day or at night.
It is unlawful to hunt without landowners permission including powerline, gas line, railroad and other rights-of-way. Written permission must be obtained if land is so posted.
For purpose of managing, hunting and dispersing alligator harvest, the State is divided into 11 zones as follows:
- Zone 01: Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Early, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, Talbot, Terrell & Webster Counties (this zone DOES NOT include zone 1A, Lake Walter F. George)
- Zone 01A*: Lake Walter F. George(Areas north of the dam, west of Hwy 39 and south of the Hwy 39 bridge at Omaha, GA side only. Hunting in the refuge is not allowed).
- Zone 02: Baker, Decatur, Grady, Miller, Mitchell & Seminole Counties.
- Zone 03: Crawford, Crisp, Dooly, Dougherty, Houston, Lee, Macon, Monroe, Peach, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, Upson & Worth Counties
- Zone 04: Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Thomas, Tift & Turner Counties
- Zone 05: Baldwin, Ben Hill, Bibb, Bleckley, Coffee, Dodge, Jeff Davis, Jones, Montgomery, Pulaski, Telfair, Treutlen, Twiggs, Wheeler, Wilcox & Wilkinson Counties
- Zone 06: Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Echols, Pierce & Ware Counties
- Zone 07: Appling, Glynn, Long, McIntosh, Tattnall, Toombs & Wayne Counties
- Zone 08: Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham (excluding the Bradley River, Cane Patch and Rush Creek areas within the boundaries of Ossabaw Island Natural Heritage Preserve), Effingham, Evans, and Liberty, Counties
- Zone 08A*: Fort Stewart
- Zone 09: Burke, Columbia, Emanuel, Glascock, Hancock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, McDuffie, Richmond, Screven, Warren and Washington
WMAs in the legal zones are open to alligator hunting provided that the WMA has open small game dates that coincide with the open season for alligators unless otherwise specified. Please refer to the WMA listing in the annual Georgia Hunting Seasons & Regulations booklet, which will be available in print August 1st and online in late-July.
*Zone 08A: Hunters applying for this zone should apply directly with the Fort Stewart Fish and Wildlife Branch via their web-based application system at https://ftstewart.isportsman.net/.
How to Apply
You must apply for an alligator quota hunt online at gooutdoorsgeorgia.com by July 15. Selection in a quota hunt will allow you to purchase an Alligator Harvest Permit, which must be held by a member of the alligator hunting party. Up to three individuals may apply as a party. No more than three individuals can be accepted as a party. When applying as a party, each applicant must allocate an equal number of priority points for the party application to be accepted. Each applicant must maintain a valid mailing address in their customer account. More information on the quota application process.
Hunters will be selected for a specified zone. Open zones for alligator hunting and the number of permits for each zone are listed under "Open Zones." No more than three (3) total selections are allowed.
Application period is June 1–July 15. To be eligible for drawing, alligator applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on July 15.
Anyone submitting false information or more than one application will be disqualified and may be excluded from future hunts for two (2) years.
Hunters who are selected will only be notified via email! Hunters must purchase a Quota Alligator Harvest Permit (or get the free permit if applicable) and a Harvest Record. Permits are only valid for the management zone and harvest period indicated for which the hunter was drawn and must be in possession while hunting. Hunters not selected will receive a priority point, which may be applied to future applications.
Selected hunters should review the Guide to Alligator Hunting in Georgia that includes information on hunting preparation, techniques, and processing.
Alligator Research: Hunters who harvest an alligator with a research number affixed to its tail and/or a metal tag in the webbing of its hind feet are asked to email Kara Nitschke with harvest information. Provide the number affixed to tail, length and sex of alligator, and location of harvest. Your cooperation is appreciated and will benefit ongoing research efforts.
Dispatched alligators must be reported via Georgia Game Check through the Go Outdoors GA app or at GoOutdoorsGA.com within 24 hours of taking the animal and record the confirmation number on the harvest record. Once verified in Game Check, the hunter is mailed a CITES tag. CITES tags are to be locked through the skin of the carcass (within 6 inches of the tip of the tail) and may be used only once. CITES tags issued by WRD must remain attached to the alligator hide until the hide is tanned, taxidermy mounted or exported from the state. The possession of any alligator hide not tagged or without a Georgia Game Check confirmation number is prohibited.
For more information on how to report harvest to Game Check, visit our website or see the section on Georgia Game Check in this year’s Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide, available wherever hunting licenses are sold.
Consumption of Alligator Meat
Alligator meat is a good quality and flavorful meat. It is naturally high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol-free. Alligators may accumulate significant levels of mercury. For more information call 706-557-3350. To find an alligator meat processor, visit GeorgiaWildlife.com/hunting/processors and filter for ‘Alligator.’