The 2012 Louisiana alligator season officially draws to a close in a couple of days. When we think about alligators these days, we usually think “Swamp People” — Troy, Bruce, Joe, Tommy, Lizbeth….et al. Gator stories are more prevalent than fish stories these days.
Louisiana’s south Louisiana season got off to a rough start because of some guy named Isaac who busted in from the Gulf of Mexico. But we understand the “Swamp People” are getting their gators again this year, even though conditions are tough and the gators are scattered. I can’t wait to see the big ones that didn’t get away when the show starts again on Thursday, January 3, 2013. I’m sure there will be some whoppers – like the Tree Shaker, Loch Ness, or Larou Garoo.
My personal favorite gator nickname from the show is Pas Tout La. That’s French for “not all there.” As I’ve kept up with Gator Mania the past few weeks, I think “not all there” may apply to more than the gators.
Random “the line is down” thoughts from GatorMania: It is estimated that more than 1.5 million alligators live in the wild in Louisiana. We’ve got them right here in Lake D’Arbonne and probably every body of water in the area that has a few secluded places to hide out. Gator hunting was allowed in several areas in Union Parish this year. There are an additional estimated 500,000 gators on alligator farms in the Bayou State. About 80 percent of commercially grown American Alligators come from Louisiana gator farms.
Here’s another estimate: Ever wonder how much a gator hunter makes. It’s hard to know. Let’s say a hunter has 200 tags. A whopper is 11 or 12 feet and sells for about $15 a foot. An average gator is about 8 feet and sells for around $12 a foot. Smaller gators are about 5 or 6 feet and sell for about $10 a foot. Using a little math and some guesses about percentages of whopper, average and small gators and some highly developed statistical analysis called “pulling numbers out of the sky”, you could guestimate that average hunter would bring in about $20,000 on his 200 gators. Take out taxes and money for gas, hooks, rotten chicken and beef melt bait and you don’t exactly become rich chootin’ gators. But if you star on a show, sell lots of t-shirts and bobble-heads, there’s no telling how much you can make.
And finally, a few bizarre non-hunting stories from GatorMania: First, the hidden dangers of gator hunting. Two alligator buyers were about to wrap up their day near Morgan City when a truck pulled up and two men got out, pulled a gun and stole $6,500 in cash and some cell phones from the buyers. They left the gators behind. Seems the hunters aren’t the onlly ones in danger.
And finally, there was a story from New Orleans and the Audubon Zoo. Someone broke into the gift shop there and stole 10 baby alligators. Give me a break. There are two million alligators loose in Louisiana and you have to break in a zoo gift shop? C’mon, man. Once they got them, I guess they couldn’t figure out what to do with them because they abandoned them in a plastic bin downtown somewhere.
Police haven’t caught them yet, but I think I know who it was. Pas Tout La.