Our love affair with alligators continues. They are majestic creatures, a link to our ancient past and most importantly-delicious.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries considers alligators to be a ‘commercial, renewable natural resource’
To that end they’ve established parameters by which hunters can go out into the woods and bayous of our great state and hunt down and kill these creatures.
The harvest program was put in place in 1972 (hunting gators had been made illegal a decade earlier) and since then over 940,000 gators have been taken and 4.9 million farm-raised gators have been sold. That first year, 59 hunters took down 1350 gators.
If you’ve eaten gator on a stick at a carnival in Houma it more than likely came via the modern harvest program. Of course there are rogues and bad actors who slip out in the dead of night and kill gators but we hope their sales conduit does not extend to fairs and festivals.
We want to eat legal gator meat. We want no truck with bootleg gator.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries considers best case harvest scenario to be one alligator taken per 55 acres. Worst case? One gator per 400 acres.
The most recent year for which statistics are available-2013-indicates that 35,361 alligators were harvested by 3,190
legitimate gator hunters. They estimate each alligator to be worth $378.94. That’s why gator meat has gotten so damn expensive. The value of alligators is through the roof right now. Each gator yields roughly 50 pounds of prime meat.
55 licensed farmers in Louisiana had an inventory of about 565,036 in 2013 at an estimated value of $56.5 million.
A well-trained alligator butcher who’s good with a knife can gut and clean 100 creatures in a 14 hour workday.
The skinner is the first man that gets a hold of the gator. Once he’s gotten the hide off of it the skin can expect to fetch about $250. Once Prada or Gucci have the skin the value increases a thousand fold.
Want to go gator hunting?
A resident of Louisiana will pay $25 for an alligator hunting license.
Non-residents must pay $150.
There is a lottery in place for alligator harvests on public lands. 325 lucky Louisiana residents are selected each year and given the opportunity to hunt down and kill 850 alligators.
Across the state approximately 65 hunters are licensed by the state of Louisiana to control the nuisance gator population. These frontiersmen take down roughly 3,000 gators annually
If you spot a nuisance alligator in the New Orleans area you may call 504-284-5269 for help.
We purchase most of our gator meat from Farm Pride Processors in Scott, Louisiana. They’ve been in business for almost 25 years and their product is consistently good.
Here are some alligator recipes we’ve developed over the years: