Some say the 2022 alligator season in Louisiana will be good Business news

HOUMA, La. – Alligator season is underway in Louisiana, and with meat prices high, people in the industry are expecting a good year.

According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, alligators bring an estimated $250 million to the state each year.

Due to an inflated market, hide prices have fallen, but meat prices have increased, industry officials say.

Wild gator skins sold for $7.50 a foot last year, bringing in $780,900 across Louisiana, state figures show. Farm-raised gators are sold per centimeter and fetch the most, at $6.50 per centimeter for a total of $66.29 million.

Jeb Linscombe, alligator program manager for the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the meat alone generates more than $10 million a year in Louisiana.

Last year, 1.1 million pounds of farmed alligator meat was sold in Louisiana for a total of $7.8 million, according to the agency’s 2020-21 annual report. Wild game hunters sold 315,100 pounds of meat for a total of $2.2 million.

For hunters, it’s both profitable and fun.

“I drove 2,000 miles for this,” said Larry Casler, 72, of Ontario, Canada. On Sept. 2, he captured and shot two of three gators on a trip with Houma hunting guides Nicholas Koch and Joshua Bridges in Terrebonne Parish.

Gibson’s son, Randy Rochelle, and his son, Randy Rochelle Jr., earned tags for hunting and killing 25 alligators this season, which runs from August 31st through October 31st. Labels left. This is the first annual gator hunt and they expect to earn a total of $2,000.

“It’s been good for us,” Rochelle Sr. said. “It’s not much, but it will recoup your costs and give you something new.”

Linscombe predicts 20,000 to 25,000 wild gators will gather in the state without any storms coming down.

Yvette Pitre is a local crocodile processor in Cut Off who buys from both hunters and farms. Her husband, Tab Peter, took over the business, Louisiana Bayou Bits, from his father in 2002. Peter’s History Channel Show Since its launch in 2010, people’s tastes have become more adventurous and demand for Alogin meat has increased, they say.

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“We were able to increase the market from $1.50 to $2, and we passed that directly to the fishermen because without them we have no business,” said Yvette Pitre, who said many fishermen lost their homes or jobs because of the hurricane.

The company sells the crocodile in small bags filled with red or white meat. White meat sells for 12 to 14 pounds at a store, while red meat costs $7 or $8 a pound, Tab Peter said.

Linscombe said the increase in demand and price increases are consistent with what he is seeing statewide.

A typical alligator Pitres receives is 7 feet long, sells for $100, and yields 20-30 pounds of meat. Pitresses work year-round, but approximately 75% of their work is done during alligator season. She said that because the season is crazy, people are working day and night processing the haul by hand.

Al Mahler, owner of Big Al’s Seafood in Houma, buys and sells gator for his restaurant and is expecting a good season. He also received tags for collecting 13 alligators during his tenure. Mahler has had a slow season since Sept. 2, but expects it to get busy quickly because of the Labor Day holiday.

Linscombe said the state’s control and management has brought wild liquorice back from its once-threatened state.

Louisiana’s wild alligator population has increased from less than 100,000 in the past 50 years to more than 2 million, state officials say. In addition, there are about 1 million alligators on farms in Louisiana.

The tagging system encourages landowners to protect alligators, Lincombe said. The number of tags issued each year depends on how well alligators reproduce.

“So the business is harvesting, mainly my forefathers created a program that financially benefited the owners, so that’s what gave them the financial incentive to protect the wealth, that’s why they’ve recovered so dramatically,” he said.

This control method has been so successful, Lincombe said, that other countries have begun to imitate it.

“We have a healthier alligator population than we’ve had in 100 years,” he said. “So you have others who, say, endangered crocodile species, and instead of trying to outlaw the crop, what they’re trying to do is put a harvest program in place to make those indigenous cultures valuable. Instead of treating the crocodile as a dangerous animal and killing them all.

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