GRAND CHENIER, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries refuge in Cameron and Vermillion parishes have started their annual harvest to remove alligators from public use areas.
The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Grand Chenier issued 360 tags and sent 9 hunters out to capture the alligators Wednesday morning.
The purpose of the alligator harvest is it help control the alligator population in order to keep all fishermen and residents safe in the area.
According to the LDWF, Louisiana met a quota of 36,000 alligators across the state last year.
"As the population increases, if you don't thin them out the alligators will start migrating into people's homes and yards," said Brandon Hebert, an alligator hunter at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.
According to officials the refuge welcomes more than 100,000 visitors to their wetlands every year. With this number of visitors they feel it is essential to control alligator public interaction in the refuge.
"Alligators are a valuable natural resource to us in Louisiana," said Hess. "It's important that we use that resource wisely and harvest these animals both for the skin and the meat value."
Due to the harvesting season, the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge will be closed each morning until 10 a.m. through September 7th.
Once the site is open at 10 a.m. fishermen can enter the refuge, but are asked not to disturb the lines set by licensed alligator trappers.