FAQ - Alligator Hunting
Is it legal to hunt wild alligators in Louisiana? Yes. We are awarded tags each year by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. We in turn offer guided hunts to those individuals wishing to bag a trophy of a lifetime. Alligator hunting is heavily regulated and is only allowed during the alligator season which falls during the month of September in Louisiana.
How rare is alligator hunting? Even for seasoned hunters of Louisiana, many of them have never had the opportunity to alligator hunt themselves. Unlike duck or deer hunting, you cannot simply go down to the local sporting goods store and purchase an alligator license or tag. You either have to be a landowner with alligator habitat on your private property (which we do) or willing to compete fiercely for a bid to acquire tags on public lands to hunt alligators. In addition, the majority of alligators that are harvested each year are for the commercial exotic hide industry, as a result there are only a few outfitters that will even consider guiding private hunts. We enjoy the guiding experience, meeting new people and sharing our beautiful property with guests. We are obsessed with your satisfaction and enjoyment during your stay with us, and take great pride in the unique experience we offer - which is a total benefit to you and your hunting party.
Is this a recommended activity for a corporate entertainment event? Absolutely! For years we have hosted companies that choose to entertain high value clients during a wild alligator hunt on Bourbe Lake. Because of the extreme privacy we offer, your group is assured of having three days of uninterrupted, personal time with key clients and loyal customers. And once your client bags an alligator - you can book it, deal done! Is is guaranteed to be a story of lifetime and a trip they will never forget. And don't worry about depleating any of Louisiana's natural resources, wild alligators in Louisiana are a sustainable resource thanks to an aggressive and very successful alligator re-population program that the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries has instituted and our Hunting Club participates in.
Is this a recommended activity for a family hunt? For sure. Since we are completely private our gator hunts are a wonderful family hunt activity and destination. Leave your cell phone, laptops and digital gaming devices home for the weekend, pack up the parents and kids and come back to the outdoors for a weekend on the wild side. Between hunts enjoy some skeet shooting or perhaps a few hours of quality bass fishing. A weekend gator hunt at Bourbe Lake Hunting Club is safe, exciting and a great way for a family to get away from it all over a few days.
Why hunt with the Bourbe Lake Hunting Club as opposed to another alligator outfitter? Know this, most of the other advertised alligator hunters throughout the state of Louisiana are going to attempt to harvest their gators with or without sport hunters tagging along. These hunters have tags to harvest alligators and intend to get their gators; with them you will only be along for the ride. At the Bourbe Lake Hunting Club we only hunt alligators when we have a booked hunt, that is important to know because our focus is on the hunters and their personal experience while in our care. We literally cater our entire hunt to each guest. An alligator hunt is a once in a lifetime event and as a result we want each hunter to have the best possible experience. Another great reason to consider our outfitting serivice is the private, on-site lodging that is included with the hunt. Few, if any, other alligator outfitting service will offer this perk. When you wake in the morning, there you are, having your coffee on the bank of beautiful Bourbe Lake. The convenience of having on-site lodging located on the edge of the lake is unmatched. We are also going to offer you some of the very best traditional Louisiana camp cooking you have ever been served. Traditional items like boudin, crawfish etouffee, gulf shrimp, and alligator will always be on the menu. We are condifident that no other outfitter service can match the "total experience" we offer at Bourbe Lake.
What does an alligator hunt cost and what does it include? Our hunts cost $12,000 to harvest up to four alligators. You can have up to four people in your group for this price (a combination of all hunters and any non-hunters). Your group will arrive on Friday afternoon until a Sunday noon departure. All on-site lodging, meals, beverages, bar set-up, snacks, cigars, fishing, licenses (in-state or out-of-state) and tags are included in the price of the hunt. We DO NOT charge any trophy fees - ever. Additional alligators may be harvested for an additional $3,000 each. Additional non-hunters may join us for $750 each. All hunts are restricted to six people, to ensure a safe hunt. Any tanning or taxidermy services are at the expense of the hunters.
Can a non-hunter join us for the hunt? Yes. The fee for a non-hunter, outside of your original party of four, is $750 each. The non-hunter will enjoy all of the benefits the weekend has to offer except the actual harvesting of an alligator.
Do you offer a partial refund if an alligator is not killed during a hunt? No. We we do not offer any refunds once a hunt has been booked. As with any wild hunting adventure, you can never guarantee a kill. However, our trained staff will work very hard to make sure we satisfy every hunter and put them in the best possible position to harvest an alligator.
What sort of clothing or supplies will I need for the hunt? Our hunts are only held during the month of September in Louisiana, which is a hot month of the year here. So be sure to pack for warm weather. It is okay to wear shorts, but make sure you bring a closed-toe shoes (no sandles or flip-flops). You might also want to pack a favorite hat as well and some sun screen if you need it. Don't forget a good camera.
Can hunters shoot alligators at night? No. It is illegal to hunt or shoot alligators at night in Louisiana. We catch all of our alligators on baited lines (usually during the night) and then kill them with a pistol or rifle, once they have been hooked the next day. It is a very exciting hunt when the hunter is perched on the bow of a boat and pulling a tight line and not exactly knowing how big that alligator is on the other side. Believe us, it is an adreneline rush!
Why do you insist that all alligators are first caught on a baited line? First of all, we want to do all that we can to ensure a safe hunt. The safest way to harvest an alligator is from a line that it has been caught on. We also want to make sure that we get our best chance at a guaranteed kill, so we insist that all alligators should be on a line before being shot. On a rare occasion we may take a gator using "freestyle" methods if the opporutity presents itself and the conditions are perfect. But normally all alligators are first caught on lines. We do not like to take the risk of grazing a gator with an errant shot and only wounding the animal. There is a chance that under those conditions we may never find the wounded gator and loose him under the water, only to die many days later.
Are hunters allowed to hunt alligators with a bow? We typically shoot all of the alligators with either a .22 caliber pistol or rifle, but a bow is fine with us, as long as the gator has been properly caught on a line first and there is a clean and safe shot to be taken.
Are there additional charges for harvesting any "trophy" alligators? No. Many commercial alligator hunting outfits do charge additional fees for alligators that are over eight feet long (any gator over eight is considered a "trophy" gator), but we do not. If you shoot a ten footer you pay the same price as any other size alligator. It is quite different than deer hunting for example, where you can see your target before the kill. Since nearly all of the alligators are first caught on a line, it is impossible to know what you have caught until you get a look at it. By the time the alligator is caught however, it is too late. That alligator must be harvested. So we think it is unfair to charge hunters more in this unique hunting situation.
How big is the largest alligator ever harvested in Bourbe Lake? In 2010 we harvested our largest alligator to date - 12 feet, 8 inches! It weighed 575 pounds. The gator was massive. In the past we have also harvested 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 footers and below. (Just so you know, the best size alligators for making custom alligator products like wallets, boots, shoes, pursues come from gators that are around four feet long or even smaller.)
How does it work if I would like to have my gator mounted or if I would like to have my gator skinned and the hide tanned? First off there will be additional charge to have the gator skinned (usually $12 to $15 per foot). After the gator has been properly skinned, we will send the hide off to a taxidermists of your choice or to our local Louisiana tannery (Reptile Tannery of Louisiana located in Lafayette, Louisiana) for contract tanning. At this point there will be an additional charge to have the hide tanned or gator mounted. We also add any shipping charges that may apply. Please be prepared to wait up to one year for these services to be complete.
What are some of the items you all have had made with wild alligator hides? Of course, over the years, we have had boots, wallets and belts made with our hides. But then, we have also helped our clients go a few steps further and assisted with custom cigar humidors, gun cases, clutches, iPhone and iPad covers, golf shoes, cufflinks, lightswitch covers and rifle slings. You dream it and we will help get it done.
Will I be able to get any meat off of the alligator that I can take home? Yes. If you care to have some of the meat from your alligator, we can arrange that. Just be sure to bring an ice chest so that you may be able to transport the meat safely to your return destination.
Is the over-night lodging on-site? Yes. All of our guests and staff share the same camp accommodations. We are one of the few alligator outfitters that offers on-site lodging. Our private camp is located only about 50 feet from the edge of the lake and is located on our private property. The camp is completely surrounded by beautiful, shady hardwoods and sits atop a hill overlooking Bourbe Lake. The camp is also stocked with a premium bar, cigar-loaded humidor and pleny of snacks to get you through the day.
How far is the local airport from the lake? Our closest airport to the lake is the Alexandria International Airport (AEX) located in Alexandria, Louisiana. It is only about 22 miles south of the lake and will accomodate private flight travel. There are four different car rental agencies located there as well. It takes less than 30 minutes to travel door to door from airport to camp at the lake.
Where is the lake located? We are located in Lena, Louisiana. Lena is roughly 30 miles south of Natchitoches, Louisiana or 25 miles north of Alexandria, Louisiana, just about 5 miles east of Interstate 49.
What other activities are there to enjoy during our time at the Club? We can arrange for fresh water fishing, skeet shooting, archery, wild pig hunting, local plantation tours, golf, casino play or a trip to historic Natchitoches for river front dinning and shopping. If you plan your trip just right we can also try and arrange a local dove hunt or perhaps a trip to Baton Rouge to see the LSU Tigers play in Baton Rouge (about two hours away). We can arrange for LSU home football tickets as well.