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Alligators bring big bucks
Hunters seeing green as season opens with big unís fetching $45 a foot
By Ann Taylor -   Sep 14, 2006

PARISH CANAL'S GREEN GIANT On Monday, this 11-foot mega-gator was sold to dealer Whitney Curole of KWK Crabs in Des Allemands. The 460-pound beast was caught in the Parish Canal and is the biggest gator Curole has seen so far this season.
PARISH CANAL'S GREEN GIANT On Monday, this 11-foot mega-gator was sold to dealer Whitney Curole of KWK Crabs in Des Allemands. The 460-pound beast was caught in the Parish Canal and is the biggest gator Curole has seen so far this season.

Alligator season got off to a fast start this year with respectable numbers of the fearsome-looking reptiles succumbing to the wily tactics of local alligator hunters.

The bigger specimens are fetching best price in years -- $45 a foot for those over 7 feet, Whitney Curole of KWK Crabs told the St. Charles Herald Guide. That's $405 for a 9-footer and $540 to the hunter who snags a 12-footer.
"The price is real good," said Curole who buys gators. Last year these same gators were worth $28 dollars a foot. Europe has a large market for alligator leather, and prices rise and fall depending on the popularity of high-end boots, purses, belts and accessories made with these skins.

Although the impetus to make money is there, Curole said his dock isn't processing nearly as many 7 foot plus beasts as he did last year -- so far anyway. "Last year by this time at least eight or nine gators over 11 feet had been brought in," he added. This year he's only seen three so far. (see photo) "But the season has just begun."

Curole believes the reason is a surplus of young gators. "I think there are so many smaller gators that they get to the bait before the bigger ones can get it," the Des Allemands dealer said. Smaller gators command less money. Current market prices range from $35 a foot for 6-footers to $15 a foot for 4-footers.

Alligator season began on Sept. 6 and will continue until Oct. 6.

Ann Taylor can be reached at annt@heraldguide.com or by calling 985-758-9167.

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