Friday, November 5, 2010

I Want to be a Swamp Person.

   I've hunted deer and waterfowl.   In the near future, I wish to hunt bigger or more exotic game.  I frequently walk down the isles of various hunting stores while looking in wonder at the rows of huge racks, gnarly horns and statuesque oddities that hunters value.  Oh the animals I'd love to take a crack at.....
     

Moose?  
 Sure! They're as tall as skyscrapers and mean as bulls (no pun intended). 

Elk?
Yeah, that would be neat, I'd get to use a nifty hose-like call 

Caribou?
 Getting a rack like that after that much hunting effort? Um... Yes. 

Big Horn Sheep?
Why not? It'll look cute and cuddly on my wall!

Alligator?
 HELL YES. SIGN ME UP. 



   History channel did the world of hunting a complete disservice the last couple of weeks when Swamp People aired on Sunday nights. Hunters around the world are now faced with the baddest of the bad group of men who actually seek out animals that can eat a man's lower half in one swift bite.  Alligator hunters have a lot of guts not only to make a living by hunting the animals but they come within inches of the deadly reptile's jaws.  Now, I have been called Lisa, Warrior Princess and a "bad-ass" chick.  But how can I now, in all good conscious after watching men (and one brave soul single-handedly with a winch) pull 800 pounds of dead gator in a boat, smile along with these nicknames? Clearly I do not even come close to reaching the caliber of bad-ass as these fellas.  I've never hunted anything from the cretaceous period, let alone tried to pull 800 pounds of anything into anywhere- but I really want to.

  For those of you who read this and wonder what in the world I'm talking about, let me explain.  Swamp People chronicles the lives of alligator hunters in the swamps of Louisiana.   The down-home group of die-hard hunters are eclectic at best.  It is cliche, but true that these men work hard and party harder.  The cameras follow the kills, the misses, and the deadly business of alligator hunting. The season runs 30 short, grueling days.  The hunters apply for tags every year and must use them all in order to avoid penalties next season.  The show frequently shows the baiting of gators, the reptiles being gingerly pulled towards the boat and shot by a hunter. (I'm surprised that PETA hasn't been all over this one.  Then again, I suppose they don't want children to be eaten whole by a 12 foot gator.)

   Generally the men work in pairs, except of course for Bruce.  Bruce, in my mind, is insane in a completely outrageous way.  The lone ranger, Bruce hunts alone, save for his dog.  Then there's Albert and his sons who forgo a month of welding pay in order to help their dad in his gator season.  William and Junior are an interesting father-son pair who completely live off of what can be taken from the land.  (In one amazing scene, William goes out and gathers frogs so his family can have them for dinner, deep-fried of course.)  Joe and Tommy are close second in my list of favorites.  Joe is a seasoned vet who seems to know exactly where the gators are and does a mean "alligator roll" dance at the local watering whole. Tommy, Joe's Step-son, is learning the ancient ways of hunting alligators.  Their connection is a humbling one as it exudes an air of father-son, not father, step-son.  Troy and Jacob take the cake in my book.  Troy's creole Louisianian accent is delightfully incoherent to my accent-novice ear. Another father and son team,  the pair work together with a surrogate son of sorts, Clint.  Troy is shown preparing gigantic feasts for his community, teaching kids about gator hunting and being the unofficial King of Hospitality of Pierre Part.  The whole show is a unique perspective on  a two century-old way of survival for Cajuns. 

   I've never gone to Louisiana. I don't know anyone from Louisiana.  I've seen alligators at zoos and on a plate at Razoo's.  But after watching Swamp People, I want that to change.  The show painted the whole Cajun culture as a beautiful, family-orientated tradition that loves God, nature, and deep roots.  Families stick together, men take care of their families, and communities gather in celebration of one of their own doing well (in this case, trapping a huge gator or tagging out).  The music is produced from the nimble fingers of musicians, not radios.  Dinner wasn't out of a white bag consumed in front of the TV but a symphony gumbo, various fried animals and plump, red crayfish thoughtfully composed by the ones who provided the sustenance. The show explores the kind of family tradition and home-town pride that I have never been fortunate enough to experience.

   So, this is my plea.  I want to be a swamp person.  I am officially taking adoption applications only from alligator hunting, Louisianian families. (Sorry Mom.) While I don't think I'm able to pull anything over 60 pounds, I'm going to start doing alternate rounds of push-ups and steroids to build my strength up. I'm not afraid of alligators. In fact, I think alligators are cute in that my-teeth-are-stronger-than-your-entire-body kind of way.  I'm a pretty good shot. Crayfish freak me out but I think I'd be able to get over that....

3 comments:

Albert A Rasch said...

Lisa,

Those fellers from Loosyanna ain't too bad, but my blogging buddy SBW and I are going to do it the sporting way:

Harpoons and short spears.

Not much to it really, one guy splashes his hand in the water 'till the gator gets close,(Learned that trick from a Cracker named Stumpy...) then the other one skewers the gator with the harpoon. Now it's just a matter of getting the gator up on land, and dispatching it with a short heavy spear slipped between the skull and first vertebrae.

Course, for a little more challenge, you ought to use a 'hawk and sever the spinal cord from the skull.

Bang Sticks are for sissies...

When we get around to it we'll let you know, and you can come on down and give it try!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch™
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Avoid Gettin' Snake Bit!

Trey said...

I love that show!

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Ha. Albert, I will be more than happy to take you up on that offer. Now that is bad-ass. I stand (sit) corrected.