Alligators can be taken with rifles (day hunts); bows; or harpoons (night hunts). Some hunts are done from the shoreline and some are done out of airboats. These are 100 percent free ranging, tail slapping, and mouth snapping, boat biting, wild gators with an all around bad attitude. Couple that with the fact that gator hunting is an up close affair, and you have a recipe for excitement!
Alligators range across the coastal plains of the Southeastern United States. The states that allow alligator hunting are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. Most of the regulations are similar from state to state, and all of them require you to attach a strong restraining line to the gator prior to killing it, so this dictates the manner in which they are hunted. Most hunters use a hand-thrown harpoon with a detachable barb on the business end, which hooks under the hide and restrains the animal. Harpoons are highly recommended for any alligator over seven feet. In addition to harpoons, you can use a bow with a barbed arrow; a stout fishing rod with a treble hook; and sometimes spearguns. Getting close enough is the hard part. No matter how you initially “hook” the gator, a harpoon is usually used to deliver an additional strong line so that you can pull the gator into your boat, or onto the bank.
Some states require that you take a training course prior to hunting alligators, and we highly recommend taking it even if it’s not required in the state you’re hunting, especially if you are doing an unguided hunt. The best states for non-residents to hunt are Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The other states only allow residents to draw, unless you hunt with a licensed outfitter.