Swamp People is back on History y’all… and that means you will be hearing from me weekly as we review the Louisiana clans who make a living out there with the spiders, snakes, and larger reptiles of the bayous and rivers of that state.
The gators are gathering, bigger, bolder, and more dangerous than ever before.
However, full disclosure time as I finally got to eat some fried gator nuggets (it does taste like moist chicken) this past summer, and it was delicious. So they can kill as many of these suckahs as they can haul in as far as I am concerned.
But the premiere was all about the raging bulls who are the giant males who can spawn gazillions of babies with a harem of females out in the murk.
These mondo males are so dangerous that they will attack and eat their own if provoked and hungry or threatened enough. Typical.
This premiere was a wild ride, as Captain Ronnie got bit by a gator playing dead, Joey and Zak brought the funk and used whole rotting feral hogs as bait, and Troy and Terral proved that they are the hardest working seniors out there on the bayou.
Fan-favorite Willie Edwards has a son named Little Willie, twice his size, of course, who is learning the ropes from his swamp savvy dad. Good times, let us revisit the episode.
Despite these hunters’ best efforts, according to the narrator of the episode, there are over 2 BILLION gators in the American swamps, primarily because of the perfect environment of the connected inter-coastal waterways and bayous and food sources.
These beasts are described as “pure killing machines” and can breed with a mess of females, who each can have 38 babies, which means yikes.
The game plan in the premiere? Take out the bulls. Gators are everywhere, and the demand for hides has plummeted. So now, the farmed meat is edible and often served in restaurants, but the price for wild gators is quite low and not what it used to be.
The bigger payoff for swampers is bagging a bull. For reasons not fully explained as of yet, premiums are paid for the biggest dead gators.
In the opener, Pierre Part is where we land and King of the Swamp Troy Landry tells his team to “get ’em at all costs.”
Troy and his “big buddy” Terral Evans set out to the deeper water where it’s quiet to catch the mature boys. They head to a remote sinkhole from a collapsed salt dome that has devoured part of the swamp, and it’s freaky.
The trick is to avoid the area that is still collapsing, creating suction whirlpools, so Troy and Terral stay with the living. Terral and Troy are rightfully anxious and not hiding their nerves.
The two bag a gator that Terral estimates is close to 1000 pounds.
Next up is the Lake Verret spillway in Assumption, Parish, Louisiana, as Ronnie and Che Che, aka Ashley Dead Eye Jones, are a team. These two are motivated and ready to find “big mamous,” as Ronnie says.
His alliterations are the best of the bunch. After running 75 rhyming lines, it’s “oh yeah baby” time as the two-reel in a monster. They bag an 11-footer at over 600 pounds.
Bayou Sorrel is next as Willie Edwards is back in business. A solo hunter for many years, his 17-year-old son is his new wing-man. His son, Little Wille, is 6’2″ but appears to be a gentle giant until he gets that gator bagging fever!
The first master class from pops Edwards is treble hooking. They manage to hook a huge gator. But then from his inexperience, Little Willie loses his leverage, and the gator gets away. When papa Willie gets mad at you, you sho’ ’nuff know it.
Back in the creepy sinkhole, AARP poster boys for not going gently into that rocking chair, Troy and Terral are raking in the bulls. Danger signs are everywhere.
Terral looks like he sees some “haints” and is not digging the area and is totally spooked. One big gator is playing possum with them. They make sure he’s a dunner.
Fans of the Edgar family note that the eldest son of Mr. Daniel, Joey, is back. And 90 miles east, near Violet, Zak Catchem (real name) and Joey Edgar head out.
These two are using whole rotting feral hogs replete with maggots as bait, and it is utterly foul and beyond gross. Their funky dead hog trick worked, though. You have to have a strong constitution to ride with these two.
Back to our delightful tag team of Ronnie and Ashley, the Ricky (Ashley) and Lucy (Ronnie) of the swamp, as the two have 250 tags, and they want to get it done.
But there’s a first for everything on Swamp People, and as long as I have watched it, I never saw a swamper bit. Oh yes, Ronnie gets bit, and it’s gnarly.
Ashley is all over the wound and gets bleach and disinfectant. They know how dirty a gator’s mouth is, and thoughts of a bacterial infection turning into MRSA are in their frontal lobes.
They both know they have to seek medical attention fast even though Ronnie is a typical Mr. Tough Guy and acts like he can bag more gators. But Ashley’s worried and notes: “Ronnie is really hard-headed.”
Finally, after bagging their last gator, his hand is bleeding badly once again, and they wrap it up and head to the docks and the doctor.
Back in Bayou Sorrel, school is still in session as Little Willie can’t get the treble hook technique finessed. Willie steps in and takes over. After a crash course at the shoreline, they set out again. Little Willie nearly gets dragged into the drink by a behemoth gator. His first kill is a “big ol’ gator”
And in the canal south of Violet, the whole hog chum plan is working, but the funk is real. Zak wins for being the most enthused and animated swamper of this episode. He said: “Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god… that’s a giant!”
What elicited all that was the fact that their line held a dead gator, But why? Zak examined the dead nine footer killed by an even larger male gator. Cannibal gator time!
He and Joey get another gator on the line that is so strong it twirls their boat and nearly pulls Zak into the drink. They bag an 11-footer and call it good.
Outside of Pierre Part, the Troy and Terral duo are flirting with the sinkhole zone. “It’s a dangerous place to be,” says Terral. “Why don’t we get the hell out of here while we can,” Troy asked.
The episode ends with Willie and Little Willie admiring their huge kills and Ronnie getting a shot for those nasty puncture wounds.
The previews for the weeks to come are shown and it looks like there might be more accidents and close calls, and good news for fans of Big Tee and Mr. Daniel who are seen in the previews as well.
Swamp People airs Thursdays at 9/8C on History Channel.
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