Two Days to Tag Out
The History channel aired a reality program on the Swamp people or the Cajuns. This show debuted on the 22nd. August 2010 and gained instant popularity and a large fan following. It tells about the life of the Cajuns who live in the Atchafalaya Swamp basin in New Orleans, Louisiana, as they hunt alligators for a living. This river basin is the largest swamp in the United States. The Cajuns, who are a unique and tireless community, live off the natural bounty of this mighty barren terrain. The high risk career of alligator hunting is their only source of livelihood.
This series is an exciting day to day portrayal of the month long alligator hunt in the swamp. The hunts are conducted through unknown and unfriendly terrain. The barren wilderness of the swamp is fraught with danger. The swamp abounds with hungry predators as the Cajuns travel through all adversity to earn their annual income by hunting alligators.
One of the last episodes in the second season of this show was named “two days to tag out”. In this episode the hunters are in a hurry to “tag out” as the hunt comes to an end on this final day of the season. The locals have sighted a giant alligator and the various teams of hunters try their best to catch it and win “bragging rights” in the showdown at the bayou.
Troy has to return to the docks as he has engine problems on his boat. Junior and Willie are about to capture a large alligator when they realize that Junior has forgotten the guns. Bruce and Nick realize that they have hooked an alligator, but when they pull it up they realize that it has been mutilated by a cannibal alligator. They are now on the hunt for the cannibal. R.J. and his son try to cover more territory by using two boats and 150 fishing lines. Joe and Tommy who were fishing apart after a fight finally get together for the final push of the season.
The Cajuns or the swamp people are a cultural mix of nationalities. There is an influence of French, Italian, Mexican and Spanish blood in them. This is deciphered from their surnames. They are a unique combination of several nationalities living in the heart of modern America, in the largest river basin swamp under some archaic rules. In spite of the splendour and natural bounties of this region, life has never been easy for the Cajuns.
This Swamp spreads over a million acres and is one of America’s most ecologically varied regions. The wetlands, bayous and marshes in the Atchafalaya River basin are home to hundreds of species of birds, fish, shell fish, amphibians and reptiles, the most famous being the great American alligator.
The alligator hunting season in the Atchafalaya Swamp starts on the first Wednesday in September and lasts for thirty days. It is managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and only licensed hunters can participate. The activity is restricted to certain wetland habitats which have been defined in the Atchafalaya Swamp and in coastal waters. It is mandatory for the alligator hunters to obtain a license and a limited number of tags from the Department.
The swamp is over populated with alligators and legal hunting is a way of keeping the number under control. The alligators are also hunted for their meat and skin. The hide is used to make expensive boots, belts and bags. This is one of the only sources of income for the Cajuns.
The Department’s alligator management programme is one of the world’s most recognizable success stories of wildlife conservation.