The Alligator mississippiensis — commonly known as the American alligator — can trace its origins back 37 million years. The first Spanish explorers to Florida were not sure what they had come upon, naming the creature “el largarto” for “the lizard.”
Although Louisiana and Florida may have greater numbers, Alabama has its fair share of the largest reptile in North America, which can exceed 14 feet and 1,000 pounds. Renowned for its meat and leather, the species was threatened with extinction because of unregulated harvest. In 1938, it is believed, Alabama was the first state to protect alligators by outlawing these unlimited harvests.
By 1987, the species was removed from the endangered species list and the alligator population has continued to expand. Now the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) has opened online registration for the state’s 14th annual regulated alligator hunts.
Registration must be completed by 8 a.m. on July 10. To register, visit outdooralabama.com/alligators/alligator-hunt-registration.
Only Alabama residents and Alabama lifetime hunting license holders ages 16 years or older may apply for tags. Alabama lifetime license holders may apply for an Alligator Possession Tag even if they have moved out of the state.
There are five hunting zones that will share 260 tags. The administrative fee to apply is $22 and individuals may register one time per zone. While the tag is free, the selected hunters and their assistants are required to have valid hunting licenses in their posses- sion while hunting.
Hunters will be randomly selected by computer to receive one Alligator Possession Tag each that are non-transferable. ADCBR of- ficials say the random selection process will utilize a preference point system. The system increases the likelihood of repeat registrants being selected for a hunt as long as the applicant continues to apply.
Applicants can check their selection status after noon on July 10
at publichunts.dcnr.alabama.gov/public. Those selected to receive a tag must confirm their acceptance online by 8 a.m. on July 17. After that date, alternates will be notified to fill any vacancies.
Each person receiving a tag will be allowed to harvest one alligator during the season. Hunting hours are official sunset to official sunrise. Local zones, total tags issued per zone and hunt dates are as follows:
SOUTHWEST ALABAMA ZONE (100 tags): Locations are private and public waters in Baldwin and Mobile counties north of Interstate 10, and private and public waters in Washington, Clarke and Monroe counties east of U.S. 43 and south of U.S. 84. Dates are sunset on August 8 until sunrise on August 11; sunset on August 15 until sunrise on August 18.
COASTAL ZONE (50 tags): Locations are private and public waters in Baldwin and Mobile counties south of Interstate 10. Dates are sunset on August 8 until sunrise on August 11; sunset on August 15 until sunrise on August 18.
UMS-WRIGHT EXTENDS TENNIS STREAK
Congratulations to the UMS-Wright girls’ tennis team for captur- ing the Class 6A state title for the 11th consecutive year. The squad earned 54 points to edge out St. Paul’s Episcopal, which finished with 48 points and was the only team to beat its cross-town rivals in the regular season.
“We were six points behind going into the doubles, and all three of my doubles pairs were in the semis,” head coach Meridy Jones told Lagniappe. “When my No. 1 pair won and then my No. 2 [pair won], I was cautiously optimistic, but didn’t say a word until I was certain. When my No. 3 pair won, I raced to the desk to double- check my numbers.
“I had her check about three times. We were three points in the lead heading into the finals, but no one else could catch us. It was so exciting!”
The final results are as follows:
No. 1 Singles: Libbie Hamilton of St. Paul’s won an individual title. She defeated Callie Ware of Briarwood 6-2, 6-3;
No. 3 Singles: Maggie Sullivan of St. Paul’s fell in the champi- onship match to Kelly Mahawanniarachchi of Hillcrest 7-6, 6-3;
No. 4 Singles: Martha Williams of UMS-Wright took top honors after beating Ana Caroline Sullivan of Northridge 6-3, 6-1;
No. 5 Singles: It was an all-Mobile final as Emma Clement of St. Paul’s defeated Mary Francis Wood of UMS-Wright 6-1, 6-2;
No. 6 Singles: Grace Swain of St. Paul’s beat Alice Rowley of Northridge 6-1, 6-0;
No. 1 Doubles: Audrey Jane Sewell and Tianna Dixon of UMS- Wright beat Northridge 6-1, 6-4;
No. 2 Doubles: Brooke Swain and Martha Williams of UMS- Wright lost in the title match to Decatur 6-3, 3-6, 6-1;
No. 3 Doubles: Mary Frances Wood and Carol Murray of UMS- Wright lost to Northridge in the finals 6-4, 6-1.
UMS-Wright will lose three seniors in Sewell, Swain and Wil- liams. Wood (junior), Dixon (sophomore) and Carol Murray (sev- enth grader) will return along with Celeste Murray (sophomore), who did not play in the state tournament.
USA FOOTBALL PLAYERS HONORED
Chason Milner and Gavin Patterson, two seniors on the Univer- sity of South Alabama football team, were included on the 2019 Hampshire Honor Society list announced by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Six Jaguars have now accomplished the feat since 2015.
In his final season, Milner set career highs with 29 total stops, seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, adding a forced fumble, a pass defensed and three quarterback hurries. The Spanish Fort linebacker was among the top 10 in the Sun Belt Conference in sacks per game in 2018. Milner received his undergraduate degree in business man- agement in 2018 and was also working toward a sports management master’s degree during his senior campaign.
Patterson became just the second individual in program history to surpass 200 points scored, ending his career with 204 after mak- ing 35-of-48 field goals and a school-record 99-of-104 extra-point attempts. An exercise science major, last fall Patterson was chosen to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Football Team, was a semifinalist for the 2018 William V. Campbell Trophy and was also one of two members of the program to be named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award.
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