Alligator Season Includes Okatibbee Lake

Lauderdale County, Miss. You may have heard there are alligators in one of this area's most popular lakes. It's true. There are 'gators at Okatibbee. And this year, there are plans to deal with some of them.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is issuing 920 permits across seven hunting zones for the 2013 alligator season. Okatibbee Lake is the newest addition to the list.

"They get larger and larger, and when the water gets higher, they get in the creeks and then they get into the ponds and lakes in our own homes and behind our homes, around our homes," said Janis Overby of Collinsville. "You have small children; you've got pets you love. They can become a nuisance, so I think it is a good thing to come in and maintain some control over them."

About 35,000 alligators are estimated to inhabit Mississippi, but MSU Meridian biology instructor, Dr. Jarrod Fogarty, says overpopulation isn't something to be worried about.

"Last year was our greatest harvest since 2005," said Fogarty. "And we took about 900. So obviously that's not putting much of a dent in the population. But if you look at other states like Louisiana and Florida, their population is so big, they're able to harvest in the tens of thousands."

There are 150 permits available for this zone. As long as you're at least 16 years old and are willing to attend a mandatory training course, you may apply for a $10 permit June 3-17.

Since participation is limited for 'gator season, the department will draw from all applicants. The 10-day season begins August 30.