Unleash the Swamp People: Texas Nuisance-Gator Hunters Can Now Peddle Their Services

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A new samurai walks the Texas earth, or will soon: the hardened, stoic hunter of nuisance gators.

In years past, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department contracted with a limited number of hunters, who put in bids to be selected. Winners would be assigned a specific region and TPWD had to approve hunts on a case-by-case basis. The hunter would pay the state a fee based on how large each caught gator was, and could keep the skin and meat.

Nowadays, there's just too many of the four-legged terrors, TPWD says..

Over the past 20 years, once imperiled alligator population in Texas have rebounded spectacularly. Increased suburban, exurban, an industrial development in an adjacent to coastal counties, particularly along the mid- and upper coast, has resulted in increasing number of nuisance alligator complaints, especially in areas biologically characterized by diminishing or little to no habitat.

So TPWD's changing the rules: Get certified, and anyone can be a nuisance-gator hunter and sell his or her services to a subdivision, town, homeowners' association, whatever.

Hunters will pay an annual fee to TPWD, but are free to negotiate whatever deal they can with the buyer of their services, negotiations which we assume would include who gets the meat.

If this sounds appealing to you, you have until March 15 to apply.

Texas does allow regular alligator hunting, but there are limits and seasons and all kinds of rules.

Nuisance-gator hunters are just told to go out there and get that kid- and pet-threatening terror, no questions asked (more or less).

The TPWD guy to contact, by the way, is named Amos Cooper. Which is damn close to "Amos Moses," who "hunted alligators for a living; he just knocked 'em on the head with a stump."

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