See you later, alligator

You are pulled in by a pitch black television screen as the sounds of the night fill your living room.  Ominous yellow letters begin to appear against the darkness, they read, “The way of life depicted in this program dates back 300 years. Hunting, especially alligator hunting lies at its core. Some images may be disturbing.  Viewer discretion is advised.”

This entrance sequence belongs to the History Channel’s “Swamp People,” a series that depicts the varied, vicious and vigorous lifestyles of people in the Atchafalaya River Basin.

Glen and Mitchell Guist, Cajun brothers who are carrying on their family tradition of solely living off the swamp. Photo Credit: The History Channel

Glen and Mitchell Guist, Cajun brothers who are carrying on their family tradition of solely living off the swamp. Photo Credit: The History Channel

Located in southern Louisiana the swampers, those that make their living by hunting and sustaining their life on the swamp, come from a multitude of backgrounds. The multicultural swampers hail from a variety of roots; Native American, African, French, and Cajun.

Within the two seasons that are now available on the History Channel’s website, each of these cultures are depicted during the thirty day alligator hunting season.

The warnings at the beginning of the show are not to be taken lightly. In thirty days, licensed hunters make the majority of a year’s income by hunting alligators and a variety of swamp creatures. Guns, blood, rotting meat for bait and “creepy crawlies” are also depicted in this series. Viewers be warned, weak stomachs need not view this show.

This short hunting period is a high intensity time for all swampers.

Nature lovers also will find out that these licensed hunters are doing a favor for their surrounding communities and all of the hunting activities are strictly monitored. Swampers who are “gatoring” are not damaging their ecosystem at all, rather continuing it.

The dedication and determination of the swampers and trappers is in a way, admirable. Snake catching, squirrel hunting, alligator gar fishing, each one of these to feed families and each one with its own dangers.

If it’s culture, hunting, history, traditions, thrill seeking, family bonds, nature, language, or a great variation of any of these that suits your viewer’s preference, The History Channel’s “Swamp People,” is undoubtedly unique and enjoyable series. It is an entirely different breed of reality television.

Seasons one and two are now available for viewing on The History Channel’s website, http://www.history.com/shows/swamp-people. Season three filming is currently underway. Stay tuned.

Rachel Kobylas

Staff Writer

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