Since 2010, millions have tuned in to watch Troy Landry and his colleagues catch and “choot” gators in the bayous of Louisiana on the hit History Channel series “Swamp People. The show is now more than 200 episodes deep. And despite no word on a potential 13th season, it remains one of the most popular series on History. So what is it that makes the show so compelling?
Well, people don’t seem to tire of watching hunters go to battle with what are essentially modern dinosaurs. The American alligator has been known to reach sizes of 11 feet long and 1,000 lbs. With bite forces of up to 3,000 psi, a single mistake made by the hunters on “Swamp People” can easily result in the loss of limbs or life.
The gators on “Swamp People” aren’t quite as imposing as the monstrous saltwater crocodile. But underestimating them can prove fatal. In fact, Troy Landry himself cited the sheer danger surrounding his profession as one of the main reasons for the show’s success.
“It’s the excitement and the danger of the alligators that fascinates a lot of people. Alligators have been around since the time of dinosaurs, they’re one of the few animals that’ve survived since the time of dinosaurs,” Landry told The New York Post in 2012.
It’s not purely danger that captures the audience’s attention, however. People are also fascinated with the way of life they see depicted on “Swamp People.” For most, making a living in the swamp by way of a flat-bottomed boat and rifle is a foreign concept.
“Some people really like the culture and the people that are on the show…[and] it shows you a little part of the country, where somebody somewhere is doing something totally different from what you’re doing,” Landry continued.
‘Swamp People’ Star Emphasized the Difficulty of Hunting Alligators
The alligator hunting depicted on “Swamp People” is a challenging process. People on the show like Troy Landry are veterans with thousands of gators under their belts. Catching massive reptiles generally isn’t a problem for them. The real challenge is picking and choosing for the sake of maximizing the 30-day long hunting season. Even more limiting is the total number of tags each licensed hunter gets per year.
“At the end of them 30 days, you can ride with your boat through the areas that we just finished fishing, and you can’t tell that we fished there. You see so many alligators you think, “Wow. Troy Landry must’ve not come here,” Troy Landry told The New York Post.
Beyond the legality of it all is a very serious danger. Jay Paul Molinere spoke on it when asked if he’d ever been hurt on the show.
“We respect the gator enough to know our limitations,” Molinere told Powows.com, adding that he frequently comes away with cuts and nicks all over.