I’m hooked on Swamp People, the History Channel show about people living in the Louisiana swamps. Caution: this show comes with a viewer discretion warning. It has graphic, perhaps disturbing pictures. Hooking, shooting and skinning alligators is what the show is about.
Why Hunt Alligators?
During the last part of summer, for 30 days, the government lets alligators be hunted. The main reason for the hunt is to thin down the population. The alligators are thriving in the swamps of Louisiana. To let the alligators go without population control (hunting season) leads to alligators running out of food and going where they shouldn’t. People and pets start being attacked.
The practice of hunting alligators goes back over 100 years. Some of the people that we see on Swamp People are third generation Cajuns (Canada’s first French settlers). They pass the knowledge and traditions down from generation to generation.
How Swamp People hunt alligators.
The show has “teams” of men in boats that each have their own section of the swamp to hunt. They have a secure pole that has a long string on it. To the end is attached a huge hook. The hook is baited with rotten chicken, an alligator favorite. Ideally, when the alligator chomps on the chicken, he either gets hooked in the mouth or swallows the chicken, hook and all. THEN the fight is on.
The men check the bait lines. If the pole is bent and the hook can’t be seen, they figure they have an alligator on the other end. With a long pole, one man pokes beneath the water to get the alligator to surface while another one has a gun ready. When the alligator comes to the top, the man with the gun tries to kill it. There is a small kill spot on the head that will stop the alligator if shot there.
Visualize a huge (7-12 foot) alligator coming to the top of the water thrashing and rolling. A man has a hold on the line that the hook and alligator are on. These alligators are ranging from 500- 1,000+ pounds. The fight between man and alligator is breathtaking to me. Swamp People is definitely NOT boring, but a fast paced, sometimes heart throbbing, show. Getting the alligator in the boat is challenging. The head must come in first to counter balance the body coming in.
Swamp People doesn’t sugar coat anything and it doesn’t leave out mistakes made. One fellow was holding onto the alligator and the guy with the gun shot, but nothing happened. He had forgotten to load the gun. Meanwhile, his partner had one mad alligator on the end of the hook!
An Italian clothes maker wanted to learn how the alligators were caught. He even helped pull one to the boat. Visitors are risking everyone’s lives. It doesn’t take much to turn over a john boat and fall into the swamp with the alligators. The risk of getting bit and drug into the water looks to be high.
Tune in Sunday nights to Swamp People. You’ll love watching it, but you’ll know that it takes a special person with special knowledge to hunt alligators. The History Channels Swamp People is a hit!
I watched it!!