Alligator Hunting Regulations
Except when engaged in hunting, it is against the law to intentionally feed a free-ranging alligator.
Alligators may be taken under any resident or non-resident hunting license.
In Angelina, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, and Victoria counties ("core" counties), and on properties in other counties for which Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has issued CITES tags to the landowner, the open season for alligators is September 10 - 30. In core counties and on special properties, no person may hunt an alligator without possessing a valid CITES tag on their person. CITES tags in these counties are issued to landowners following a site inspection and evaluation by TPWD. For information about tag issuance and requirements, contact the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management office at (409) 736-2551.
In all other counties (non-core counties):
- Open season: April 1 - June 30. Alligators may not be taken during this season on any property where alligators were taken during the September season.
- Bag Limit: One alligator per person per license year.
- Alligators may be taken on private property ONLY. Alligators may be taken from public waters by all lawful means EXCEPT FIREARMS; however, the person taking the alligator and the taking device MUST be on private property.
- Tagging: Upon killing an alligator, a person must:
- IMMEDIATELY complete a Wildlife Resource Document (WRD). See Transfer of Wildlife Resources, which shall accompany the alligator until it is permanently tagged with a CITES tag;
- Within 72 hours, complete an Alligator Hide Tag Report (PDF 19.3 KB) and mail to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin, TX, 78744, along with a $21 hide tag fee (check or money order); and
- Permanently tag the alligator with a CITES tag IMMEDIATELY upon receipt of the CITES tag in the mail from TPWD.
- Lawful hunting hours: From one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Between sunset and one-half hour before sunrise, no person shall set any baited line capable of taking an alligator, remove an alligator from a line set, or use any means and methods other than line sets.
- Means and Methods:
- Hook and line (line set). Line sets must be secured on private property. Hook-bearing lines may not be set prior to the open season and shall be removed no later than sunset on the last day of the season. Each baited line shall be labeled with a plainly visible, permanent, and legibly marked gear tag that contains the full name and current address of the person who set the line and the hunting license number of the person who set the line. Line sets shall be inspected daily and alligators shall be killed, documented, and removed immediately upon discovery.
- Alligator gig
- Hand-held snare with integral locking mechanism
- Lawful archery equipment (with barbed arrow)
- Lawful firearms. IMPORTANT NOTICE: In core counties, firearms may be used only to dispatch alligators that have already been taken with a lawful taking device. In all other counties, firearms may be used to take alligators, but only on private property. IT IS UNLAWFUL TO TAKE AN ALLIGATOR BY MEANS OF FIREARMS FROM, IN, ON, ACROSS OR OVER PUBLIC WATER. Centerfire ONLY; rimfire UNLAWFUL, except for dispatch.
- An alligator captured on a taking device (line set, lawful archery equipment, gig, or snare) must be killed immediately. An alligator, in public water, caught on a taking device lawfully attached to private property, may be dispatched with a firearm.
- No person may employ more than one taking device at any time.
- A line of at least 300 pound test must be securely attached to all taking devices other than firearms.
- Hook-bearing lines must be attached to a stationary object, on private property, capable of maintaining a portion of the line above water when an alligator is caught on the line.
- Using natural vegetation on crops to conceal a blind, provided that if crops are used, no grain or other feed is exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered in the process.
- A line attached to an arrow, snare, or gig must have a float attached to the line. The float shall be no less than 6" x 6" x 8" or, if the float is spherical, no less than 8 inches in diameter.
Additional regulations apply and can be found in the department publication entitled "Alligators in Texas" (PDF 1 MB), also available at all TPWD Regional Law Enforcement offices or by calling (800) 792-1112 (menu 5). Alligators may be sold ONLY to a licensed wholesale dealer or alligator farmer.
For information about Alligator tag issuance and requirements, contact the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management office at (409) 736-2551.