Reward offered for poached alligator found in Liberty

Liberty County game wardens say this alligator was found shot in the head at the Port of Liberty on Sunday morning.

Liberty County game wardens Jake Noxon and Chad McKinney are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person responsible for illegally killing an alligator and leaving the remains near the boat ramp at the Port of Liberty.

“We got a call Sunday morning from a man who was going down to the boat ramp to launch a boat or go fishing. He had found the alligator, which appears to have been shot in the head after it was captured,” said TWPD Game Warden Jake Noxon. “We are thinking it was an 8 or 9-foot alligator. Whoever killed it cut off part of the tail but didn’t take the whole tail. The missing tail and the fact that it was shot in the head are an indication that someone was pursuing or hunting the gator prior to its death.”

With everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Alligator hunting is not illegal in Texas; however, there are rules that are set by the state that must be followed.

Currently is is open season for alligators in Liberty County. Hunters must have a permit issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife, often referred to as a tag, to take an alligator during the 20-day period from Sept. 10-30 in core counties. Liberty County is one of 22 Texas counties considered a “core county,” areas considered to be a prime historical habitat for the American alligator in Texas. The core counties are:

  • Angelina
  • Brazoria
  • Calhoun
  • Chambers
  • Galveston
  • Hardin
  • Jackson
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Liberty
  • Matagorda
  • Nacogdoches
  • Newton
  • Orange
  • Polk
  • Refugio
  • Sabine
  • San Augustine
  • San Jacinto
  • Trinity
  • Tyler
  • Victoria

Even with a permit or tag, there are still other rules that must be followed. Alligators cannot be harvested in the wild. Permits are sold to landowners and hunting leases, and are only issued after they provide a copy of their deed for review.

“You can’t get an alligator tag at Academy. You can’t buy them over the counter. You must get them through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” Noxon said.

In core counties, tags are not retroactive, meaning that you cannot kill an alligator first and then request a tag or permit. This is a different rule for the other 232 non-core counties in Texas where you can kill an alligator and then pay the $21 hide tag fee. The hunting season is also different in non-core counties where the season runs from April 1 to June 30 every year.

TPWD’s Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing the alligator at the Port of Liberty. Operation Game Thief is Texas’ wildlife crime stoppers program, a function of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Law Enforcement Division.

OGT offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people who violate the state’s game and fish laws. Since its inception in 1981, as a result of laws passed by the 67th Legislature to curtail poaching, calls to the OGT Reward Hotline have, combined with enhanced statutory penalties for poaching and trespassing, resulted in a substantial reduction in the numbers of poaching incidents in Texas.

To report information on this case, call 1-800-792-GAME (4263).

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