An Analysis of Louisiana's 1972 Experimental Alligator Harvest Program

In September 1972 the Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission established an experimental alligator harvest program. The primary objective of the open season was to evaluate a complex system of quotas, tags, licenses and report forms designed to rigidly control the harvest and shipment of alligator skins. Information was also obtained on the effects of the harvest on alligator populations, food habits, tag recovery rates, body condition factors, aging techniques, reproductive biology and pesticide..and parasite levels. A total of61 alligator hunters were issued 1,961 tags. One thousand three-hundred and fifty alligators averaging 6 feet II inches. were taken during the 13 day season. Skins were sold at public auction for $74,773, an average of $55.93 each for the 1,337 skins sold. Males comprised 80.29 percent of the kill. Shipments were followed through commerce with no evidence of illegal skins entering the legal traffic. Populations appeared unaffected by the experimental harvest program and there was no indication of an increase in poaching activity.

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