“King of the Swamp” Troy Landry was one of the estuary’s most famous and fearless alligator hunters. The son of a fisherman and seafood merchant, crocodile hunting was in Troy’s blood. He fills in more labels than any swamp man in Louisiana.
Swamp People is an American reality television series that premiered on the History Channel on August 22, 2010. The show follows the daily activities of crocodile hunters who live in the swamps of the Atchafalaya River Basin and hunt alligators for a living.
Alligator season in Louisiana begins on the first Wednesday in September and lasts for 30 days. During this period, many crocodile hunters followed a tradition dating back some 300 years, and the bulk of their annual income came from high-risk occupations that depended on experience and weather conditions and were strictly regulated by wildlife laws. Hunters each receive a certain number of tags to attach to their kills. Once they are “tagged” (no more tags), their season is over and they are not allowed to kill any more crocodiles for the rest of the season. During this 30-day window, some of these hunters make the bulk of their annual income from alligator culling. Therefore, the ultimate goal of alligator hunters is to mark before the end of the season. Most hunters spend the rest of the year catching other species (fish, crayfish, shrimp, crabs, raccoons, turtles, etc.) to supplement their annual income and/or maintain full-time employment in other industries.
Each season, the series focuses on a different team of alligator hunters. Some episodes also show other aspects of social and sporting life in the swamp, including fishing and hunting other animals.
Beginning in season four, the program expanded to sites beyond the Atchafalaya River Basin, with alligator hunting teams in other parts of Louisiana as well as wetlands in Texas.