Alligators are strong animals, so it’s important to use caution when harvesting them. Here are several safety tips to avoid injury.

1. When pulling in your gator, keep the line off the deck of the boat to avoid getting entangled.

2. It’s a good idea to wear safety goggles when dispatching your gator. The hard, bony plate on top of an alligator’s head has been known to fragment soft lead bullets.

3. Use caution when pulling an alligator into your boat. Large specimens are heavy animals, and with people and the gator all on one side, it’s easy to swamp smaller watercraft.

4. The weather is hot during alligator season, and although it’s lots of fun, the work is hard. Be sure to bring plenty of water to keep hydrated, and apply sunscreen to protect your skin.

5. Flesh-eating bacteria, vibrio vulnificus, has been known to occur in Louisiana salt and brackish water estuaries. If you have an open wound, it’s best to avoid marine environment activities. However, given the short length of the season, you may want to consult your physician for protective options.