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Shooting at alligators? Beware!



Taken Tuesday morning near Onward. (Photo by Darlene Davidson)

Don’t mess with Mississippi’s official state reptile.

Last year numerous alligators were killed from the levee near Eagle Lake and Chotard during the flooding.

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace says anyone caught discharging a weapon in any area not designated for hunting will be arrested.

Ricky Flynt with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has oversight of the State’s Alligator Hunting Program. Flynt says discharge of a weapon on the levee is illegal—period.

Also, the illegal killing or taking of an alligator has some stiff penalties. Law enforcement is stepping up patrols by local, state and federal agencies in these areas to protect the wildlife population in this time of crisis.

According to Mississippi Code § 97-15-13:

“If any person hunts or discharges any firearm in, on or across any street, public road, public highway, levee, railroad or the right-of-way thereof, such person is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than sixty (60) days nor more than six (6) months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. This subsection shall not apply to any law enforcement officer while in the performance of his official duty or to any person engaged in a lawful action of self-defense.”

In addition, under Mississippi’s conservation and ecology statutes:

Illegal killing of an alligator is a Class I misdemeanor, carrying a maximum fine of $5,000, loss of hunting and fishing privileges for not less than one year and five days in county jail.

Illegal possession of an alligator is a Class II misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of $500.

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