1800 Earliest record of use of alligator leather; thousands used for boots, shoes, saddles, etc.
1855 Sporadic demand; first as a novelty leather and in Civil War to supply confederate with shoe/boot leather. In late 1860s, alligator leather rose to top of fashion scale of all leathers.
1880-1933 Approximately 3.5 million Louisiana skins harvested, largest 19’2”.
1939-60 Commercial harvest of 18,005/year.
1962-72 Louisiana closed season statewide; turned attention to professional management of this resource, extensive research, and federal and state laws governing alligators enacted (listed in Federal Endangered Species Act, 1967).
1970 Louisiana Legislature enacted Act 550 giving Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries full authority to regulate the alligator.
1970-72 Framework for implementation of a sustainable use program developed.
1972 Experimental hunt in Cameron Parish yielded 1,350 alligators by 59 hunters.
1975-77 Experimental hunt expanded to three coastal parishes (Cameron, Vermilion and Calcasieu).
1978 No season – limited market in U.S. and ban on overseas shipments due to Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
1979-80 Harvest expanded to 12 coastal parishes.
1981 Alligator reclassified to Threatened due to Similarity of Appearance; harvest expanded to entire state.
For more recent program history, as well as for harvest numbers and values for both wild and farmed alligators, see the Alligator Management Reports.