Monticello hunters among those issued gator permits
Three Monticellonians were among the 101 individuals who received permits for a chance at harvesting an alligator this year. Last Wednesday afternoon, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission finally announced those few from the thousands that applied.
The permit draw was held up due to some unforeseen issues with the process, but Wesley Fletcher, William Lassiter and Mary Simon likely couldn’t care less. All three Monticello residents’ names were drawn for hunting gators in Zone 3 (private land at-large). Arkansas’ 2017 alligator season is Sept. 15-18 and Sept. 22-25, and hunting is only allowed at night.
All permit winners must attend a hunter orientation class before being issued their temporary tags. Mandatory orientation classes for permit holders will be held Saturday, Aug. 19 in Monticello and Hope, and the next weekend (Saturday, Aug. 26) at the AGFC headquarters building in Little Rock. Successful private land at-large applicants must provide written landowner permission and a map of their proposed hunt area.
Fletcher, Lassiter and Simon are joined by Drew County hunters Blake Downen of Tillar and Wilmar’s Charles Lanehart, and 20 other Southeast Arkansas potential alligator harvesters. Downen and Lanehart were both selected to hunt in Zone 3 (Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex).
DeWitt’s Allen Counce, Bobby Gentry of Pine Bluff and Dumas’ James Hill received permits to hunt in Zone 1 (private land at-large), while Star City’s Jeffrey Atwood; Charles Brenke and John Williams, both of White Hall; Raymond Doering, Keaton Howard and Bryan King, all of Pine Bluff; and DeWitt’s Bobby Webb were selected to hunt in the same area as Downen and Lanehart.
The majority of area hunters were listed in the same catergory as the three Monticello permit winners. Lauren Bryant of Hampton; Eudora’s Carol Doolittle; Virginia Haynes and Jody Hibbard, both of Star City; Pine Bluff’s William Jones; Kelly Mitchell of DeWitt; Robert ONeil and Mary Weatherly, both of Wilmot; Lake Village’s Cory Rowe; and Martin Walt of Dumas all received permission to hunt in Zone 3 (private land at-large).
Alligator hunting isn’t for the faint of heart. Hunters scan the surface of the water with spotlights from a boat, pinpointing alligators before easing up to them with a harpoon or handheld snare.
Permit winners are allowed up to three assistants during the hunt, but only the permit holder is allowed to snare, harpoon and dispatch the alligator. Arkansas alligator hunters must completely subdue the gator before finishing it with a shotgun or shotgun shell-loaded bang stick using shot no larger than No. 4 common shot.
Once dispatched, all alligators must be tagged with a temporary possession tag and may be checked online. Additional hunt details will be provided at the mandatory hunter orientation classes.
Others that will be hunting gators in The Natural State are:
• Zone 1 (private land at-large): William Aitken, Texarkana;
Josiah Allen, Lewisville; Floyd Bell, Conway; Landon Bryant, Texarkana; Floyd Clark, El Dorado; Michael Clark, Jacksonville; Carter Coates, Greenbrier; Matthew Davis, Conway; Paul Deloney, Texarkana; Ryan Dewey, Cabot; Tony Dinger, De Queen; Mark Fielding, Horatio; Michael Foster, Hope;
Michael Hale, Mineral Springs; Ashley Hale, Nashville; Justin Harman, Texarkana; Charles Hines, Texarkana; Daniel Hollinger, Conway; Jeremy Jeane, Texarkana; Aaron Lawrence, Texarkana; Samuel Leamons, Arkadelphia; Charles Mattox, El Dorado; Taylor Moody, Hope; Phillip Neill, Magnolia; Brian Ratliff, Conway; Martin Siems, Scott; and Marlin Terry, Ashdown.
• Zone 1 (Dr. Lester Sitzes III, Bois D’Arc Wildlife Management Area): John Call, Ward; and Jimmy Perkins, Lonoke.
• Zone 1 (Lake Erling): Seth Jean, Magnolia.
• Zone 1 (Little River): Lakota Hoover, Murfreesboro; and Amy Miller, Hope.
• Zone 1 (Millwood Lake): Cynthia Blankenship, Ashdown; Elizabeth Chastain, Malvern; Kenneth Crumpton, Texarkana; George Dixon, Magnolia; Cody Friday, Ashdown; Jason Glass, Taylor; Philip Redfearn, Ashdown; Beau Redfearn, Texarkana; Leslie Smithpeters, Arkadelphia; Marvin Weido, Magnolia; Ryan Whitlow, Foreman; Randi Young, Texarkana; and Demarius Zacarias, Van Buren.
• Zone 3 (private land at-large): Christopher Beller, Batesville; Rodney Chastain, Jonesboro; Brian Corcoran, Bella Vista; Richard Crawford, Paragould; Kyle Elkins, Fayetteville; Richard Gore, Little Rock; Michael Hill, Little Rock; Brooks Joseph, Conway;
Andrew Ligon, Stuttgart; Paul Lovell, Mountainburg; Michael McFadden, Lonoke; Patrick McGarity, Sheridan; Christopher Morgan, Stuttgart; Andrew Norwood, Little Rock; Hunter Thomasson, Fayetteville; Burtis Walker, Paragould; and Paul Williams, Rogers.
• Zone 3 (Lower Arkansas River Wetland Complex): David Gates, Newport; Michael Gillion, Beebe; Jordan Gosverner, Roland; Steven Isom, Greenbrier; Donovan McFadden, Roland; Ian McReynolds, Jonesboro; William Monagle, Little Rock; Arthur Pattin, Ravenden Springs; Hannah Smith, Marion; Louie Smith, Marion; and Ronald Tedford, Rogers.
• Zone 3 (Mercer Bayou/Sulphur River WMA): Jesse Howard, Jonesboro; Zachary Kiser, Fayetteville; and Chirstina Shaw, Vilonia.
— AGFC Press Services contributed to this story