‘Swamp People’: What Happens to the Alligators After the Show?

by Michael Freeman

“Swamp People” is a History Channel reality show following alligator hunters and their endeavors in various swampland. However, the show doesn’t really touch on what happens to the gators after the show.

The short answer to this question is hunters kill the alligators. Despite the simple answer, like anything else, there are rules and regulations surrounding alligators.

First and foremost, the hunting season in Louisiana lasts a mere 60 days. Interestingly enough, the old duration was 30 days, but “Swamp People” popularity renewed interest in the activity, leading to an extension in 2020.

The alligator hunting season begins the first Wednesday of September in the west zone of Louisiana. Meanwhile, the east zone’s season begins the last Wednesday of August.

Prospective hunters must apply for CITIES tags, the tagging system used for alligators before the season begins. Hunters receive a set number of tags and must tag every kill they make. Additionally, hunters must obtain an Alligator Hunting License and annually renew it.

Alligators may also be harvested, once further legal precautions are taken. The number of gators a hunter may harvest is equal to the number of CITIES tags they possess. While shotguns are prohibited when hunting, other registered firearms may be used. Notably, it appears the “Swamp People” cast does not harvest alligators.

If hunting in a public place, the fishing method is used to capture alligators.

Surprisingly, alligator hunting isn’t terribly lucrative, especially when taking into consideration the licensing costs and other fees. As an example, an alligator foot typically sells for only $7 to $8 per foot. At one point, Troy Landry stated “it’s almost not worth killing a big gator” to “TV Tango.”

How Do ‘Swamp People’ Stars Supplement Their Alligator-Hunting Income?

Since hunting alligators isn’t as profitable as one might think, how do these hunters supplement their income? According to Troy Landry and other “Swamp People” crew, crawfishing help pay the bills.

“Right now, when we’re not busy with alligators, looking for alligators, and looking where we’re going to fish next year,” Landry states, “we are trying to supply the rest of the world with crawfish.”

Landry elaborates, going over exactly what he does during the alligator off-season.

“That’s what I do in the off-season. We start in late November, after Thanksgiving, we start trying to catch farm-raised around the Lafayette area, and then in February and early March, we’ll also go in the Atchafalaya Basin in the swamp and catch wild crawfish.”

That’s not to say crawfish will get you rich quickly either. Louisiana crawfish sell for $4 per pound, meaning you would need several hundred pounds to start making a decent amount of money.

Landry also shared in particularly bad years, he lived off the land to make ends meet.

“Sometimes your money runs out if you have a couple of bad years in a row. But I’ve been very fortunate.”