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‘Swamp People’ come to Tech for fundraiser

March 22, 2012

 

Junior, Theresa and Willie Edwards, stars of the History Channel’s hit show “Swamp People,” came to Argent Pavillion this past Saturday. –Photo submitted

APRIL KELLY
Staff Reporter

 

Stars of the History Channel’s No.1 show “Swamp People,” Junior Edwards, his wife Theresa and son Willie visited the Tech campus March 17 to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.

 

The stars of “Swamp People” came to Ruston to kick off Cedar Creek School’s “Cedar Creek Celebration 2012, Fais Deaux Deaux on de Bayou” annual spring event.

 

“Through some contacts, we had an opportunity to have the swamp people come to Ruston,” said Lynda Steed, director of development for Cedar Creek School.

 

“They were very gracious and would sign anything,” she said. “We had people bringing boat paddles and shirts to get signed.”

 

In the Argent Pavilion, fans waited in two lines for the “gator hunters” to arrive.

 

One line belonged to the VIPs who paid $50 for a few extra minutes with the famous Cajuns.

 

“This show happened simply out of luck,” Willie said. “The History Channel people just came by our house one day and we agreed to do it.”

 

“Swamp People,” which is currently in its third season on the History Channel, was recently renewed for another three years.

 

The show premiered on Aug. 22, 2010, and has since become the No. 1 show on the History Channel.

 

The show follows the day-to-day life of alligator hunters and highlights all the dangers and rewards of this particular career field.

 

“This is our career and we do it to provide for our families, to make a living,” Willie said. “I was brought up and raised [hunting alligators].”

 

To kill the alligators, the men set traps to catch them. Then, once caught they must “choot ‘em” as cast members say. In order to kill them, one must shoot them in the kill spot, which is located between the eyes, but a bit further back. If shot anywhere else, bullets often ricochet and this could be life-threatening for the hunters.

 

“I’ve been shot in the hip, the arm and near my eye,” Willie said.

 

Willie said these injuries were caused by ricocheted bullets.

 

Alligator hunting season begins on the first Wednesday in September and lasts 30 days. Each hunter is provided with a limited number of tags, which they put on the alligators foot indicating they killed it.

 

They can only kill so many alligators per hunting season.

 

The Edwards family usually gets 241 tags per season, which they fill in two weeks. In the past, they have caught as many as 45 alligators per day, but this season the number has dwindled to 12 per day.

 

Since alligator hunting season is only 30 days, the Edwards family spends the rest of the year hunting other game, fishing and harvesting alligator eggs.

 

The family explained that alligators are worth a lot of money.

 

They sell both the meat and the skins.

 

The larger alligator skins sell for much more.

 

“The price depends on how long the gator is,” said Willie. “The longer the gator, the more money we make.”

 

“The largest gator we’ve ever caught was 13 feet long and 800 pounds,” said Willie.

 

He pointed to the very large alligator head sitting on the table next to them.

 

“That’s the biggest one we ever caught,” said Willie. “That’s our 13-footer.”

 

The life of an alligator hunter is one few have, but it is one that millions have learned of simply from a reality television show.

 

The third season premiered on Feb. 9, 2012, and airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the History Channel.

 

Email comments to ask012@latech.edu.

 

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