From the U.S. Department of Justice:



Louisiana Hunting Outfitter Sentenced to Prison for First Felony Conviction for Illegally Hunting Protected Alligators
Friday, June 22, 2012

WASHINGTON – A Louisiana man was sentenced to serve six months in prison, to be followed by four months in a half-way house for in connection with an illegal alligator hunt Thursday, authorities said.  

Gregory K. Dupont’s sentencing was the first ever felony conviction and prison sentence resulting from the illegal hunting of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), in violation of the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and Louisiana law, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Dupont, 38, has owned and operated Louisiana Hunters Inc., a hunting outfitting company, since 2001.  His clients hired him to take them on alligator hunts in Louisiana, and they included out-of-state residents who were required to hunt with a licensed resident alligator hunter.  Dupont took some of the out-of-state clients to hunt alligators on property where he was not authorized to hunt.  On Feb.10, 2012, Dupont pleaded guilty to selling American alligators by providing outfitting and guiding services, knowing the alligators to have been taken illegally, on a hunt in September 2006. 

In 1967, American alligators were listed as an endangered species because the total population size in the United States reached drastically low numbers due to severe poaching and overharvesting.  The conservation effect of this protected status and of the Lacey Act, the Endangered Species Act, and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Louisiana led to the recovery of the size of the American alligator population in the United States, and American alligators were down-listed to threatened status in 1987.

Because American alligators remain federally protected, alligator hunting is regulated by federal and state rules and regulations, which require, among other things, the tagging of all harvested alligators.  The integrity of the tagging system is crucial to Louisiana’s alligator management program because it enables the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to monitor harvest areas, alligator size and the number of alligators taken, Justice officials said.

In Louisiana, an allotted number of alligator hide tags are issued to licensed hunters.  Each tag may be used for one alligator only, and Louisiana law requires alligator hunters to hunt only on property for which hide tags are issued.  The areas where alligator hunting is permitted are determined on a yearly basis by wildlife biologists, whose decisions are based on the need to maintain a healthy alligator population.  If hunters poach alligators from areas for which they do not have tags, then the integrity of the entire alligator management system is undermined, thereby threatening Louisiana’s alligator population and alligator industry, which is a significant component of Louisiana’s economy.

According to court documents, Dupont, in violation of law, guided his clients to places in Louisiana, regardless of whether he had tags for the areas, where he hoped his clients would kill trophy-sized alligators so that they would pay him a trophy fee in addition to the guiding fees. 

The case was investigated by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division and by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement.

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