Swamp Tours in Louisiana
Louisiana can be divided into two regions, the uplands and the alluvial. Swamp tours take place in the alluvial region, covered by coastal marshlands, barrier islands and of course swamp lands. Covering around 20,000 square miles the alluvials are found along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.
Louisiana could be known as the alligator capital of the United States with an estimated population of around 1.5 million alligators. The alligator population can spread to the point that the gators can pose a threat to the human population. As the swampland changes shape with the seasons and as the gator population expands, there is a risk that alligator’s can intrude on populated areas. For this reason there is a controlled alligator season to manage the gator population and keep it within pre-set limits. The gator hunts are carefully regulated by The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ alligator management program, with each hunter allocated a certain number of kills during the season.
The season lasts one month, starting on the first Wednesday of September. For that month only the hunters, sometimes referred to as swamp people, head out on their boats to capture as many gators as they can up to their prescribed limit. Crews are usually made up of 2 or 3 members and they are capable of catching upwards of 50 gators in one day during their gator hunts.
Gator hunts are quite primitive affairs, using techniques that go back hundreds of years. The swamp people set up bait on strong line and hooks to tempt the gators and then return the following day to inspect their traps. If they are in luck, a gator will have snared itself on the hook and a lethal shot can be delivered to the gator before it is taken onboard and delivered back to the dock where their bounty is paid. With alligator hunting being a seasonal operation, the hunters are under intense pressure to capture their predefined quota of gators, pressure and danger go hand in hand with gator hunts.
Of course alligator hunting is an extremely dangerious profession, as alligators are amongst the most dangerious of predators on the planet. Gator hunts are therefore not for the faint of heart, or tourists. For this reason professionally run swamp tours are becoming more and more popular in Louisiana, with around 50 different swamp tours available for anyone interested to see nature at its most primitive and deadly, in its natural habitat.
In a private swamp tour tourists can watch gators as well as other wildlife like pelicans and various swamp creatures in their natural habitat, from the safety of a professionally run boat. The contrast of the danger associated with the predator that is the swamp gator, against the backdrop of the beautiful natural scenery and vegetation rising from the waters makes for an auxilrating experience.
The narrated swamp tours are enjoyed by people from all over the world who come and learn about alligator hunting and the remarkable history of the swamp people