Rouses Everyday - September & October - page 33

Alligator hunting seasons are so short. Alabama’s is already over.
Mississippi’s public land water permits are only good for 10 days, but
private land permits give you two weeks longer. Louisiana’s season runs
the longest, 30 days, ending in late September for the East Zone, and
early October for the West Zone.
An alligator hunt starts at Rouses in the Meat Department.
Chicken leg quarters make great bait.
You can shoot free-roaming alligators, the ones you see swimming
or out sunning during the day, but the majority are fished with
baited hooks set above the water (consequently the need for our
chicken leg quarters). The hooks are attached to ropes that are then
clipped onto limblines or tree branches.
Alligators hunt at night, so you bait and hook one day, and run the
lines the next. When you see a rope that’s taut, and stretched deep
into the water, there’s a good chance you’ve got a gator on the line.
The hard part isn’t killing the alligator; you can use a rifle, handgun
or even a bow and arrow. The hard part is getting him in the boat.
An alligator on a hook will snap its head, roll around, and thrash its
tail. Even after it’s dead, it may keep moving. Chickens run around
with their heads cut off. You can cut a frog in half, but if you don’t
slice the tendons that connects its two legs, it will keep jumping.
Dead or alive, alligators roll.
Louisiana has the highest alligator population in the country. We
sell farm-raised Louisiana alligator tail meat and alligator sausage at
Rouses. There are about 60 alligator farmers in Louisiana who farm
close to 400,000 alligators a year. Another two million alligators
live in the Louisiana wild.
A 15-foot alligator was recently caught in the Alabama River. The
largest alligator I ever tagged was 11 feet, 6 inches.My dad, Donald,
tagged one at 11 feet, 9 inches. I doubt it’s true that Edward Avery
McIlhenny (of Tabasco fame) killed a 19-foot alligator on Marsh
Island, but it makes a great fish story. Speaking of which, I don’t
"You wanna see a grown man cry, watch an
alligator hunter salt-cure a hide. Alligators writhe
around in swamp grass, and everything, I mean
everything, gets mixed up and wrapped around
them. You go in the water to pull that gator into
the boat, your hands are coming out covered with
tiny cuts. It burns like dickens when you stick ‘em
in the salt."
—Guide Chris G.,
GAtor rAID
Donny Rouse, 3rd Generation
know a single fisherman who doesn’t have his own story about the
20-footer alligator he saw swimming by his boat.
tAG, YoU’re It
You need a license and a tag to hunt alligators (one tag — one
alligator). In Louisiana, tags are distributed to hunters who own
land or have permission to hunt alligators on land that has been
classified as wetland habitat. You can go with a guide who has tags,
or hunt with a landowner who is willing to share. There’s also a
public lottery for tags to hunt on public lands or lakes.
HIDe & sCUte
Alligators are prized for their meat and their rugged hides, which
are used to make leather (Louisiana hides are called “Louisiana’s”).
An alligator’s scute — the bony ridge that runs along its backs and
is thought to keep it cool while protecting it from predators —
makes it a favorite for designers.
Turtles also have scutes.
1...,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32 34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,...60
Powered by FlippingBook