Alligator season opens today, and with the popularity of shows like Swamp People, its seems as though everyone wants the opportunity to try their hand alligator hunting.
Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette said, “Usually it was 600 people applying for permits, now it's about 2800 since Swamp People started.”
The professionals, however, warn against it. Trapper Jude Mequet said while it is a fun sport, it can be extremely dangerous, and just as big a headache. Trappers go through months of preparation and paperwork before the season even begins. Once the season starts, trappers know when and where to go for the animals. More importantly, they know what to do with the alligators once they have killed it.
“Let's say you go out and you do kill one. They might not know where to (sell) the animal. SO if they spend all day trying to find out what to do, the meat could spoil,” Mequet said.
The popularity of reality-TV may be causing many to want to enjoy the thrill of the kill themselves. If not the kill, it's the meat they may be wanting to try.
Mayor Collette said, “My understanding, alligator meat is in high demand. Since Swamp People, everybody wants to try a piece of gator and I think this year they're going to have an abundance of them and I think everybody will be satisfied.”
Experiencing the taste of gator cuisine is one thing, however, Collette and Mequet both agree one the bigger picture. Alligator hunting is more involved than reality TV shows and it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurts.
“I believe 100% that people see that and they want to come out here and do it. We understand; it's exciting and it's fun but if you have no business coming out here, don't come out here. You're going to get yourself in trouble,” Mequet said.