What The Hell Are Swamp People?

Remember when the History Channel was about, um, history? And by history, I mean Hitler? Well, over time, it’s shifted its programming lineup to focus on the cultural dissection and investigation of “redneck”/ rural/ blue collar people. There’s Ice Road TruckersMounted in Alaska (about taxidermy), American Pickers (guys who scour hoarders’ stockpiles for valuables), UFO HuntersOnly in America with Larry the Cable Guy, and about thirty different shows about Jesus, the Rapture, and scientifically proving the Bible. Now, the History Channel brings us…Swamp People. You asked for it, America! You wanted to see dentally handicapped, incoherent, poverty stricken Cajuns zooming around the bayou, hunting gators, and now you have it!

One episode starts off with Willie searching for a giant alligator he spotted briefly surface. Our hero is missing a front tooth, needs subtitles to be understood, and scans the swamp with a rapacious hunger for gator murder. The narrator informs us, “A gator this size will make his reputation on bayou.” I imagine the conversation:

“Hey did you hear about the gator Willie caught? 12 feet long!”

“12 feet long?!”

“Yeah, and 500 pounds!”

“Who helped him bring it in?”

“No one. He hauled it in by himself!

“Oh my God, I must blow this sexy swamp man!”

Eventually Willie catches the gator by hanging bait from a tree branch, suspending it just above the water’s surface. The gator thrashes, writhes, and snaps furiously on the line as Willie extends his tender hand flesh right up next to its jaws to pull him close to the boat. Perhaps no one told him that alligators have the strongest laboratory measured bite of any living animal. He then draws out an old pistol, aims point blank at the gator’s face, and blows its fucking brains out. This is in slow motion. Baaaaaaaam! The water turns red with blood around the gator’s head, its powerful body now 500 pounds of raw seafood. This scene is repeated over and over throughout the show—a gun fired directly into a gator’s face in slow motion. All swamp people do all day long is shoot gators’s faces.

I remember Steve Irwin would catch crocodiles and alligators with his bare hands, and then he’d turn to the camera, still holding the gator, and say something like, “These beautiful creatures are under threat from hunters and habitat degradation. I believe we need to do what we can to preserve them.” Cut to Swamp Peopleshot in the face in slow motion. Again. And again. And again. I know alligators aren’t endangered, but it’s only been a few decades since they dropped off the endangered species list in 1987. After watching swamp people shoot alligator after alligator, I started wondering if this practice could possibly be environmentally sustainable. I love alligators. They smile all the time, and sometimes they lumber out onto golf courses and devour rich old people. Nom nom nom. Watching them get shot in the face by swamp people is disheartening to me on some level.

After one kill shot, a hunter named RJ said, “He thought he was smart. He thought he was slick. But we outslicked him.” First of all, an alligator’s brain is the size of an acorn. If you can’t outsmart a creature that dumb, how can you even turn doorknobs or button your shirt (if you wore anything other than overalls, that is)? Second of all, you have advanced technology in the form of 22 rifles while the alligator can only wriggle helplessly on the end of a line. Third of all, why “outslicked” when “outsmarted” was just within your grasp? If you’re slick, it’s only due to accumulated oils, perspiration, and mayonnaise residue.

One of the subplots revolves around a man named Terral, wandering the wilderness with a crossbow, hunting a giant killer pig he’s named Big Wooly. He’s covered his whole body with leaves for camouflage and stalks slowly through the thick foliage. “This is the Moby Dick of the pig world,” he says to the camera. I cannot make this shit up. The narrator tells me feral hogs have 30 different diseases, attack humans on sight, breed like rabbits, and, because of their thick sinewy hides, are extremely difficult to kill. At any moment, the monster hog could lunge out and attack Terral—or hell, he could gore the cameraman to death for that matter. “If that bitch comes out, I’m gonna give her some of this,” says Terral, gesturing to his weapon (the rifle, you pervert). The narrator says Terral has been hunting this legendary hog for two years. That seems like a questionable use of two years of a person’s life, but who am I to judge? I’m wasting a whole hour of my time on a show about swamp people.

Finally, Terral spots Big Wooly surrounded by her brood of demon piglets from his perch in a tree overhead. Wow, two years of hunting, and that conceited bitch sure showed up quickly once the TV cameras came around. He shoots it, but it flees into the swamp, slowly bleeding to death. At this point, he hops down to the ground, switches to a crossbow, and tracks the dying hog by its footprints and trampled undergrowth. Silence. Then the ominous sound of oinking. “What the fuck was that?” he shouts in terror. I imagine the cameraman saying, “Alright, let’s go down the list. Cow go moo. Chicken go bock bock. Horsy go nay. SHIT WHAT GOES OINK I’M SO SCARED RIGHT NOW.” A few minutes later, they discover Big Wooly’s fat dead body up against a tree stump. By Terral’s expression, it’s clear in the long war between mankind and pigkind, mankind has won a major victory.

Swamp People depicts human beings fighting to control nature either by murdering gators that destroy expensive crawfish traps or trimming the populations of invasive species like feral hogs. For these thankless jobs, their lives are harsh, exhausting, and generally unhygienic. Their equipment is old and rusty. The swamp is an ever shifting labyrinth. Every transition uses b-roll of some other awful thing in the swamp: a snake slithering through the water, a spider devouring a fly, an alligator’s watchful eye just above the water’s surface. All I can think is: this place is a fucking swamp infested with mosquitoes and giant bloodthirsty reptiles! You have televisions! You can see you don’t have to live this way! Get out of there! But they’re happy living in the bayou, shooting gators’ faces despite all the hardships. There’s a lesson there about contentment maybe, but on the other hand, there’s a more important one about brushing your teeth and going to college. TC mark


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  • JJ

    To be fair, the season lasts only one month and is government-mandated to control the alligator population. The hunters have only this 30-day window to make almost their ENTIRE yearly salary. They do what they can to put food on the table for their families (and yes, this food includes alligator meat). They aren’t hunting for sport/recklessly going out killing alligators every day out of boredom.

    These hunters are doing what they can to support themselves and their families and to survive in a part of the country that has limited opportunities. Your statement, “You have televisions! You can see you don’t have to live this way! Get
    out of there!” is rather pretentious and narrow-minded.

    • Whitfijo80

      Limited opportunities?  Evidently you  have never been there.  Next time your pumping gas think about the gulf.  Louisiana is full of opportunities.  And no, I do not live there, but I know the state, people, and have spent a lot of my life there.  They do it because it is tradition and make a little extra.  A lot of you that can’t  understand the lifestyle, stay in your apartment with your poodles, hamsters, etc.  You will be safe there…..Trust me, this is not income they rely on.    You have no idea what the people are about.

  • waxxy

    hmmm…i think that this essay is naive as shit.  a dangerous animal comes from the water onto the land to hurt humans and it needs to be controlled.  alligators aren’t cute and a bite can crush limbs of your body.  i think the way they speak is funny.  in last nights episode, troy, one of the main hunters stated that he brushed his teeth every morning.  anyway i know my defense is shitty but they’re harmless, good guys.  they’re just doing their part to survive in the bayou.

  • Al

    I watched this show and actually came out slightly envious of the freedom they have.  It’s just a way of life that they love, were born into, and will raise their kids into.  Like someone said above they are not hunting for sport, just to provide for their families.  What is wrong with that?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffreyjamesskatzka Je Sk

    “There’s a lesson there about contentment maybe, but on the other hand,
    there’s a more important one about brushing your teeth and going to

    I don’t know wtf you meant to say with this sentence, or this entire article really. However, I can see your perceived world in this article is a privileged, arrogant, and shortsighted place.

    College alone does not give a person perspective, wisdom, or the desire to brush their teeth. Neither will health/dental/life ins. + a 401 k/roth IRA or your words on this website.

    Good luck with lief.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brad.pike Brad Pike

      This was mean, but I suppose making fun of swamp people is sort of mean, so I guess we’re both mean. We are brothers in condescension.

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

    Minnesota represent. 

  • http://ethecofem.com Bema

    “…brood of demon piglets” was très lulz.

  • anon

    fuck you, i bet alligator tastes delicious and shooting them in the head sounds awesome

    • http://www.facebook.com/brad.pike Brad Pike

      The barbecued alligator they made looked delicious, no doubt about it.

  • Mr Shankly

    Bayou is now my favourite word.

  • Amanda

    This article had me loling to the wall, and the floor

  • Tojeho

    I was gonna post here that you were just simply “stupid”, but as I can see several posters have already pointed that out. Quite well I might add. What the hell..I just say it anyway..You’re stupid…

  • Prestod

    I always wonder what the PETA crowd thinks when shows like “swamp people,” air. Most of the time I laugh at how judgmental they can be about things they aren’t familiar with. What gives me hope is all the responses this post.
    I love the outdoors, and the animals that call it home. I also grew up hunting, fishing and trapping these animals. Most of the time I eat what I catch or use the animal in such away that it serves a purpose for someone or something. Occasionally I have to eliminate a skunk or snake that is after my fathers chicken eggs. I care for wildlife as do many others through taxes, programs and land management. Most folks I know take no pleasure in killing things and I admit some do. I enjoy the sport and tradition of it all in activities like hunting and trapping. There are times when we trap coons that are destroying crops or feed and we train or coon hounds with them. Is this the best day or this raccoons life, no, do I solve a problem, yes, and at the end of the day my hounds get some much needed practice and the raccoon finds himself a new home in the forest instead of the neighbors barn.
    I give the person who wrote this story some credit. You stated your points clearly and I would even agree with you on a couple things. I have relatives who call the swamp home and they are some of the nicest folks you will ever meet. Every culture has its good folks and its bad folks. I’m almost certain without being there we are probably looking at the nicer, perhaps, sensational side of the swamp people.
    I love watching reptiles, I think they are beautiful creatures. And just the whitetail deer which were almost wiped out here in MO, the alligator has made a remarkable comeback. Through hunting organizations and conservation regulations these animals don’t survive, they thrive. So, when the time comes to regulate these populations of wild animals those who wish to participate so and those who don’t, don’t have to. It’s a good system.
    I also think those who do not follow season and limit regulations should be punished. But to say it’s all bad would be stepping out of bounds.
    So, all in all, I think it’s a good show which covers a very small, yet interesting part of life in the swamp. I give the History channel credit for having the guts to show what they do. And maybe there is hope yet for a bit of sanity and practicality for this country.
    Take care

  • Karen

    I am absolutely disgusted with this show! I cannot believe they show them killing these alligators.  Something strong, beautiful and full of life to be trapped and shot in the head for all of TV to view.  Disgusted viewer.  If you want to make a living, get the freak out of the swamp and get a Got Darn education!

    • joe

      OMG alligators…the baby seals of the swamp!!

    • Raider5869

      I can’t believe this show is on T.V. they look like the people from the movie wrong turn and hills have eyes.

    • Chrissy

      Excuse me but just because their job is killing alligators that doesn’t mean they dont have a education. Most of the people on this show definitely have a education and are pretty intelligent. You’re probably just a hippie that doesn’t want any animals killed. Some people hunt deer, others ducks, alligators are the same way. They only reason why it’s interesting enough to make a tv show is because it’s DIFFICULT and not just anyone can do it.

    • Jmullins8722

      Youre an idiot. Stick to what you know.. your meaningless desk job, your Prius, and your overall lack of contribution or worth to the world. Oh ya and your “educated” ignorant prejudices

    • Whitfijo80

      I believe that these people know where their roots came from.  You probably couldn’t trace yours back thru 1 generation.    Your probably one that lets your kids (if you have them) sit in front of the tv all day because you can’t make the time for them.  The family values these people have, you will never understand.  I have an education but it means nothing next to the life lessons my father and grandfather taught me. I’m passing it along to my children. It is not all about killing animals.  They will live a lot longer than you will when our country finally spins down the bowl. You will be fighting the other idiots for what you think your entitled to,  and standing in line wanting the handouts.  But, that’s the way it will be for most of you that can’t understand the rich life that the swampers and several million others have in our country, not just in La.

    • Pat Conver

      I hate this show, i would like to put a hook through there faces and shoot them in the head for an entire month. it would also be called swamp hunters.

  • Chrissy

               Wow, I can honestly say.. Your waste of time with this cute article above did absolutely nothing but ammuse me. I’m from Houma, Louisiana, Which is around bayous, swamps, and well.. where Swamp People get there work from. I thought I should just lay a little bit of truth on your ignorant ass since it looks like you obviously need it. The people in Swamp People and nice, caring, hard working people. We dont wear “overalls” I promise you Bruce, and Bruce only wears that, His personal reasons.. Is either so he doesn’t ruin his real clothes or maybe he’s just like that, But point blank that doesn’t mean we’re all as you say ‘hicks’ and all wear them. Now I somewhat agree with you on not having Swamp People on History, because it is pretty hard to compair to Steve Urwin. But weather you like it or not it is a life style, a extremely hard job, pays their bills at the end of the day.. and people want to air that to let people all over know what that lifesyle’s like. They are normal people just like you and your family, and to be quite honest.. I promise some of those people have waayyy more hygiene then you. Just because their job is dirty doesn’t mean they are. I can go on and on proving you wrong on just about everything you said above but you’re really not worth that much of my time. 
                Also, Next time you want to vent away about something that gets on your nerves.. Do it to someone who gives a fuck, Don’t post it on internet to make yourself sound oblivious before you get you facts straight..

                                                                           Thanks for your intertainment.

  • Katie C.

    First of all, if you actually sit down to watch the show to really understand it, the alligator’s are not shot in the face.  They are shot in the back of the head.

    Second, for those of you who are concerned about the species of gators, I hope that you’re more concerned for the safety of HUMANITY from these killers.  Obviously, if alligators were left alone, more and more people would be injured (and even killed), because of the overpopulating reptiles merging onto land to look for more food.  Like I said before, if you would truly watch the show and UNDERSTAND the purpose of alligator hunting, viewers will quickly learn that hunting alligators once a year helps reduce the population so that people are free from injury and death.

    Third, anyone who is able to critique this necessary skill is the one who is watching too much t.v. and doesn’t know what hard labor is.  This is a tough job that requires 30 days straight of work, from sun up to sun down.  It’s obviously not an easy job and is something not a lot of people would do.  I would love to see BRAD PIKE work 12 hours a day for 30 days in a row and see how critical you come out to be at the end.

    For someone who feels like this job is not important, you are really
    narrow minded.  This world requires people doing the dirty work, such as
    killing gators for the safety of others, flipping hamburgers so that
    hungry customers may be able to eat, cleaning out sewage systems so that
    backed-up crap doesn’t go back into peoples’ houses, etc.  Believe me, I would love to hide behind a computer screen all day and write stupid articles that bash the lifestyles of people that you haven’t even experienced.

    Lastly, as an educator, I have quickly learned that college is not for everyone.  As much as it is encouraged, some people work better with their hands and don’t require education past high school.  Instead of college, my brother chose to work with his hands rebuilding car engines.  He now works for NASCAR… without a college education.  Therefore, these people DO NOT require a college education to become successful.  In fact, some of these no-educated hunters make more money than I do… and I have a B.S.  But it doesn’t matter, because they have an education.  An education in how to survive, take care of family, and properly maintain a large reptile so that they can retrieve it and use the remains for food and monetary income.  For all I know, Brad, you’re only form of knowledge is being naive, judgmental, and uninformed in your writing.  Oh, and a waste of my time.

  • KC

    “Brad Pike (b. 1988) first started seriously writing at eleven years old
    when he produced a 114 pages manuscript about a cocaine dealer who
    pilots a spaceship to a distant planet where he leads an insurrection of
    beetle people against their cyborg lizard overlords. He was poetry
    editor for the North Texas Review and sometimes reads poetry around
    Denton, Texas dressed in a wizard costume…”

    Maybe you need to start writing articles about your own lifestyle.  You make fun of people’s outward appearance and ways of life?  Wearing overalls is more becoming than dressing up as a wizard.  And to have sat on your butt writing a 114 page manuscript about a drug dealer shows that you DON’T know what real work is.  Get a life… a REAL one…

    • EducatedBayouGirl


  • Christina_mrkonjic

    If their job is to kill alligators then so be it. What I have a problem with is the airing of it on TV. What is the point? There is so much garbage on television today that it isn’t any wonder why society is so messed up with being unhealthy and overweight. People spend countless hours on their sofas watching reality crap. We should be more focused on our own lives and not obsessed with how many kids this family has, how much greasy food one person can stuff his face with, or what the outcome will be when one of the house wives receives a horrific manicure on this weeks episode of  “The Real House Wives of Beverly Hills.”

  • swampfan101

    I’m just going to be baffled as to how people could take offence to this article.
    Good god man. Its funny. Thats all there is to it.

  • Terdhead

    Brad pike dude u are fuckin hilarious, but what’s even more funny is that I’m from Houma pahahaha. U shoulda wrote a whole book!

  • Animal_Loverr

    All of you against this article are f*cking idiots. THIS SHOW IS COMPLETE SHIT! F*CK ALL OF YOU THAT THINK OTHERWISE! How could you possibly enjoy this show? Oh wow, i love watching people kill animals, like really? The people on this show are not doing it for “humanity” they’re doing it because they enjoy killing these beautiful creatures and to make a buck. So how about all of you go f*ck yourselves. Wish I could “hunt” some of you people and the people on this show… How about YOU get a life. Against “Swamp People” alllllll the way…

  • Jennylovesanimals

    Omg!!! I absolutely love animals all I want to do when I grow up is be a vet and save dwindling animal populations but I love this show. History channel should be about culture because soon it will be history. You can’t act like these people are stupid and hate on them because the are missing a few teeth that is screwed up. Your a judgmental idiot for thinking these people are stupid I want u to be smart enought to learn how to survive off the land. You probably kill more animals driving your car back and forth to ur prick ass job and college. They are saving the environment doing what humans were origanaly made to do. We are just another preditor stop judging people and learn to live with it. Dumb ass

  • Ties

    This shit is bullshit, typical yanks killing animals like they are nothing. They even go to Africa and kill shit there for fun !!. Yanks think everything but a Yank is worthless. Fuck YOU YANKEE DOODLE MOTHERFUCKERS !!!!!

  • Amy Bell

    Objection to this show is fucking ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with these people or what they do. Alligators number in the millions in Louisiana. They will take your dog or cat or child right out of your backyard because there are so many that they end up in populated areas. If you think the people should just accept that as a part of life of living there – or they should move – well, lets just reintroduce all the wolves and cougars back into the northern United States. Then you’ll see how your families and livestock are threatened. They have to hunt these alligators to survive and protect their families.
    Not to mention these people are honest and hard working and there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way they live their lives. Just because it’s different from yours doesn’t mean it’s wrong. The Atchafalaya swamp is totally different than your self-righteous cities and they have to do what they have to do to survive. And this is one of the oldest settlements in the U.S. The French were living there long before us. So don’t plan on telling these people to move any time soon just so your precious alligators can roam free.
    If you want to learn more about the Atchafalaya then read the the article by Hunter S. Thompson on the army corps of engineers.
    Maybe you’re just jealous that Willie is missing a tooth (or two) yet he lives a better and happier life than you. Hating on someone else’s happiness won’t bring you any peace.
    Finally, if you don’t like seeing animals being killed, don’t watch it. I don’t like listening to assholes on sports center but I won’t sit here and bitch about how it’s crappy TV.

    • Amy Bell

      And to the idea that this is bad TV and “oh what is the world coming to” is stupid. All this show is is honest hard working people doing what they love. It is probably the BEST reality show on TV. It teaches hard work, respect for the land and it’s people, and loving life and family. You can’t get much better than that. If anything, this show improves today’s shitty TV.

    • Gage

      Thats how i feel.

    • Jenny

      HAHAHAH so going out into the fucking boondocks killing a 3 foot gator is going to protect their kids?? thats cute. 
      To be honest, animals lived their before human civilization. The gators have more right to complain about the fucking humans taking over their land. Do they get shotguns? Nope. I would like to see these guys out in the wild without their fancy equipment they picked up at the store or a boat they bought and try and fight the gators with their bare hands. Maybe, just maybe then it would be a fair fight. Natives hunting were smart and thoughtful. Not only would they make the weapons THEMSELVES with their own hands, but they would also use every part of the animal for their needs. Not enjoyment. 
      Oh and I live way up north amongst cougars, wolves, bears, you name it, and we learn to live with them. The way it should be as we are sharing THEIR land. 
      Heck yes it is different from how i live, and HECK YES it is wrong. I work very hard and live a great life without killing any animals. I do not unfairly take lives of helpless speechless creatures that were here before we were. I know I shouldn’t have that right. 
      And they HAVE to kill gators to survive? what a sad fucking life they live. We are in the 21st century, where this is not what they need to survive. I heard mc dicks is hiring, although you should probably be literate before you apply, so yea you are probably right eh. 
      Yah it may be an old settlement but i think the gators claimed the swamp before them. Perhaps it is one of the oldest gators settlements but you wouldn’t fucking care because of your typical large ego. 
      And nope, I love my life. I don’t hurt people or especially helpless animals. It would be like a huge ass mature adult with a gun beating up a baby. Its not fair. I work hard at my job and have a great pay off with a wonderful life where i can afford to get pin straight teeth thanks for asking. 
      And you may not complain and watch sportscenter (HAHAHA whata man ya pussy), but at least on TSN it is only a foot ball being beaten up, not a helpless gator. 
      k sweet. 

      • chrispycritter

        I agree!!!! A species that has been there for a long time deserves a real fight from these inbred idiots. Why not hand to hand? Wrestle the gators you cowards!

    • Jenny

      Oh one more thing. 
      I am a northern country girl and hardworking farm girl and i get by without any animal abuse. 
      You my friend, are a cocky, ungrateful, sick, butch, filthy, fat redneck cocksucker that has nothing better to do than watch helpless powerful beautiful gators that have been around for millions of years be beaten and shot at to death by people of your kind. 
      what a gem you must be. such a fucking gem. I am sure one day one guy will be PROUD to take you home to mama. BAHAHAH.

      • siouxpernatural

        Jenny you are a silly bitch for reals…

  • Momo

    I feel very sorry for people who have “evolved” so far as to be unable to understand another way of life.  The simple fact is that you could take any one of the Swamp People to a large city and they would survive, take someone from a large city and plunk them down in the swamp….. I’d give ’em less than a day.  Who’s the smarter of the two?

  • Gagev

    I wish u would come an try what they are doing. It is not as easy as you think it is. They have a lot of gators. They get annoying. We do not all act like that. We change our clothes and shower everyday. You should not watch swamp people if your gonna complain so damn much. Thank you thats all for now folks.

  • Dogtickman

    Hunt like real men! One on one with a knife or bow! Anything else is dynamite fishing and you are a wuss!

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