2013 Gator Season Full Swing or Nearly Over?

Gator on the line

With near fall-like temperatures, the hunters aren’t the only ones enjoying the milder climate.  Seems bountiful numbers of hungry alligators are taking advantage of the free lunches being offered throughout the marshes since Wednesday, the first official day of alligator season.

Unlike the antics you see portrayed on the popular show “Swamp People”, our hunters down here around Bayou Dularge don’t have time to mess around with the gators, jerking them this way and that.  Almost all of them have other full-time jobs and must burn some of their vacation days to get their tags filled.

So, naturally, it make sense for them to get down to the brass tacks right away and not dilly dally at all.  It also helps that Labor Day falls within the first full week of gator hunting, giving them an extra free day if they need it.

Boat loaded with gators

This year, the weather proved suitable for both gator and hunter, as boats loaded down with piles of gators started arriving at the buying dock before noon. Many of the boats even had the maximum allowable catch for a day, which was 20 gators a day for this particular land company.

Day 1 Gator Season

At that rate, most of the hunters who had 80 or fewer tags have already FINISHED with their gator season after only FOUR days of hunting!  They are spending today picking up all their lines, scrubbing their boats, and putting everything away until next year when they will do it all over again.

How great for them that they will not have to labor on Labor Day!

Opening Day - 20 gators

This hunter had the one-day maximum of 20

Every hunter I talked to said this was a magnificent start to a gator season–not like last year that was totally messed up by Hurricane Isaac and the evacuation. Bad weather also slowed them down in 2011, so they were happy to catch a break in the weather this year.

An 11-footer goes into the ice

An 11-footer goes into the ice

Although I failed to get a photo of it, this year’s largest gator for our area was caught on opening day and measured in at 12 feet, 3 inches long.  Now that’s a big gator. Furthermore, no one will see any film footage at all of our hunters or their gators, as the land company doesn’t allow any filming at all for any reason whatsoever.  They wouldn’t even allow my friend who works for FOX 8 News to interview a hunter and put a positive spin on it.

One land company spokesperson blamed the animal rights activists for that. Well, here’s a nice tidbit for the activists.  Alligator hunting in Louisiana is well controlled by the state government, and without this program, we would have gators eating our cats, dogs, chickens, and eventually children.  But, due to a shortage of ammunition (mainly .22 bullets) some of the hunters had to strike the gators in the head with hatchets in order to kill them. How’s that for humane?

Box of .22 bullets, a rare find in these parts

Box of .22 bullets, a rare find in these parts

If that offends any of my readers, I apologize, but “folks” are buying up ammo before it can hit the shelves, causing wide-spread shortages.  This isn’t fantasy, either, because I have gator-hunting friends who had to travel out of town to get their ammo.  With two Wal Marts, an Academy, and a locally-owned sporting goods store, that’s pretty extreme.

As a matter of fact, Lil Sis was down for the week, and we decided to visit both Wal Marts to see if they had any .22 bullets.  Not only did they NOT have any at all, most of the ammo shelves were naked.  Empty.  Nothing there.  When I asked the clerks when they might get more, they gave me some double talk which amounted to this, “We have no clue.”

Just remember, we have lots of new folks following this blog these days.  We welcome all of you, but please know up front that this is a blog about life in the Louisiana wetlands.  These are working wetlands that provide a way of life and support a culture, and if you don’t live here and depend on those things, you might not understand our way of life, approve of it, or be comfortable with it.

We just ask that you respect it.  Please respect the hardworking folks of the bayou, what they do to survive here, and we should all get along just fine.

What’s coming next?

White Shrimp

White Shrimp

Well, it’s white shrimp season, so it’s about time for a new shrimp recipe, isn’t it? We are looking for a recipe that mocks the “Shrimp and Grits” at Cafe` Amelie on Royal Street in New Orleans.  I’ve done exhaustive research AND have mixed and matched recipes trying to mimic theirs with only minimal luck.  And no, the cafe` would not give it to me.  I asked.

There just might be a prize for the first person who can get that recipe (or one identical) for me to try in the BW test kitchen and post here for everyone!

Bring on the recipes!  (Put them in the contact box at the bottom of the About page, not in the comments section, please.  Sorry, but I’m not interested in links to recipes since I’ve probably already seen them ALL!  Thanks.)

BW

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Comments

2013 Gator Season Full Swing or Nearly Over? — 47 Comments

  1. Hey give us an idea of what those shrimp & grits might have in them. That would help our search. 🙂

    Glad the weather was great for the gator season. After all the hard times that have hit the bayous and wetlands of LA, it is time for some good luck. Seeing your photos and reading your blog doesn’t bother me in the least. I have seen, met and talked to a lot of animal rights activists and it didn’t seem to occur to any of them that the steaks, meats, fish, etc., that they are eating and enjoying had to be harvested somehow by someone. Keep up the good work.

    • Cammy, always great to hear from you, lady! If you click on the Cafe Amelie link, there is a photo in their banner of the dish. Their recipe includes creamed corn, and I guess the challenge isn’t fair if you haven’t eat their shrimp and grits! I came close to perfecting it on a recent try, but I’m not quite sure how they prepared the shrimp—the sauce, the seasonings, etc. I was hoping someone here would actually have the recipe and/or had enough sway with them to get it for us!!!!

      • The recipe looked really good and I would be happy to fix it for us! I am very partial to grits. Especially grits w/cheddar cheese, diced, geen onions and a dollop of butter.

  2. It’s wonderful that the season’s going so well, and that the gators are abundant. Dove season just started here, and word is that they’re abundant, too. Now there’ll be a bacon shortage, as all those birds get wrapped up for the grill!

    Way back when, I heard that WalMart was going to discontinue ammunition sales. Whether that ever happened or was just one of those rumors, I don’t know. What I do know is that people here are grumping about the cost or lack of ammunition,too.

    Some animal rights activists are a bit like certain anti-oil folks – those who don’t realize that “oil” means more than the gas they put in their cars. Their computers and beloved iPhones are possible only because of petro-chemical products, too. Oh, my. 😉

    Happy Labor Day! I hope you’re having some fun, too!

    • There’s not a bacon shortage at the Maison d’Foamheart, as he sent me pics of the bacon he’s cured and smoked all by his very own self!!

      The doves are abundant here right now, too, although I can’t bear the thought of slaughtering one for my fricasse`. As far as those activists go, I’m assuming that they are ALL vegans. They would darned near have to be or be labeled as the biggest hypocrites in the world. I’ve been accused of being anti-big-oil, but I’m really just anti-rig-canal, and now that the damage is done, my screaming is for naught, really.

      I decided to work on Labor Day and get caught up with my Quickbooks for the camp. Felt good to get that done, too.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see what recipes your readers come up with, though I’m not familiar with the shrimp and grits from Cafe Amelie. I’ll have to peek at that link.

    As you know from talking with me, shrimp and grits have been a Lowcountry staple for years. They’ve moved from the breakfast table to wedding reception buffets and sit down dinners. Some recipes are basic; others have gotten upscale and fancy. Ingredients and seasonings vary, as well.

    I’m glad to hear that your local gator season opened up as well as it did.

    I recall hearing, too, that Wally World would no longer being carrying ammo and/or guns. Like Shore, I don’t know if that was true or just more of those rumors that flit around, from time to time.

    • Maybe the WalMart rumor is true because one clerk said something about “the market” but it all sounded like double talk to me.
      About the shrimp and grits—I’ve eaten them in quite a few places in the big city, and each place put is own spin on them—smoked cheddar in the grits, or cheesy grit cakes, etc. They are all quite different, but Cafe` Amelie is my very favorite, and something I’d like to add to the repertoire.

  4. Nice box of bullets. Me and my fellow ‘back hurts so bad if you ask we will rip your tongue out at minimum’ guy bought the same box at a place that had a 200 shell minimum. We were afraid to try and get 2 a piece but nice old lady sez we could of got 3. HUH? They don’t shoot bad out the Unkle Henry either.

    blu can’t find a concentrated group of doves but if you got a tree swallow gumbo recipe post it up.

    Hope you get those trout ‘welcome back’ signs up soon.

    This lobster bisque sure isn’t gumbo and tater salad.

    • Henry is a dang fine rifle Blu, always has been. It just feels right and the action is smooth. Its one of thise things that was done right, wasn’t compromised for profits and wasn’t changed.

      Shrimp and grits recipe? I like shrimp and I like grits but never been a fan of shrimp and grits. We didn’t eat grits that way when I was a kid. First time I saw it was in the lowlands of SC, it’s just one of those things that does not fit together with me. Obviously that will ensured it to be a national standard. Kind of like blackened fish, if ya burnt ’em at my house someone else cooked the next time. Oddly I as the only one in the house while growing up who liked grits. I will be watching for those recipes though.

      Grits and eggs oh yeah, I must have been a berry berry good boy to rate that high. I even get my grits from what used to be a small family gristmill in Alabama. Wouldn’t ya know they grew all up big! Throw in some bacon and biscuits and I am already done for the day. LOL Don’t expect any work to get done.

      BTW if you like stone ground girts and who doesn’t ( besides my family), here is the link to the folks I found in Alabama. I get most of my cooking grains from them like barley and flour. Their Oat flakes will make anyone love oatmeal!

      http://www.oakviewfarms.com/

      • Foamheart, you can’t beat good, stone ground grits or cornmeal. I get mine each year at our towns jubilee in late April. I usually buy 5 or 10 lbs of each and stick it in the freezer in vacumn sealed bags.

        There is a gentleman who comes every year and will grind your dried corn (or what he brings) to order. I call his old machine a “Pop’n Johnny” for some reason. I seem to recall my mom or grandmother calling one that in east Texas. And it does make a popping sound as it works. 🙂

        • Its really funny, when I first called this guy he said he was a retired farmer who had picked up the old grist wheel from his granddad’s old farm. He thought he’d clean it up and try it and was only grinding his dried feed corn for some money to help the grandkids school expenses. He had no way to accept money online, so when I called him he took my order and shipped it to me and asked me to send him the payment when I got the cornmeal. LOL… I was amazed.

          If you look at his website, seems he’s grown, I keep wondering now if his grandkids are in Vandy or Duke maybe Harvard Law….LOL

  5. I’ve read several of your post praising the Amelie recipe. I hope someone comes up with it. I’ve never had them, but I’d sure like to try them.
    Do you ever get gator meat? Love it fried!

    • I can get gator meat at the same place you can—seafood market. Years ago, they would let the hunters skin one out and keep the meet and sell the buyers the hide; but now they have to sell them whole. Nothing ever stays the same. I’ll think about posting a pic of the first shrimp n’grits experiment . . . . the grits and sauce were very close, but the shrimp weren’t quite right!

  6. Dear Readers, I was today corrected by a reader who is obviously too shy to comment publicly but not too shy to set me straight . . . . encouraging me to do my homework on what the facts are behind the ammo shortage. While there are hundreds of links to articles about this topic, it’s hard to know which ones are reliable. Suffice it to say that this reader leans toward reports of government hoarding as mythical hype, and that the consumers are the ones hoarding and causing shortages, no matter what the reason. The paragraph has been edited so I’m not held liable for misleading anyone or falsely accusing the government. Thanks, DAF. I stand semi-corrected. BW

  7. For the PETA people. Did you know a little dog was killed by a gator here on Bayou Dularge this week. I Love and respect all animals but I prefer dogs to gators anytime.

    • Monica, I didn’t hear that, but that alone is one MAJOR reason that I never feed the gators and encourage everyone NOT to feed them, even from the bank behind or in front of your house. For those who don’t know, the alligators lose their fear of humans when they are fed by us, and then they get brave and get closer and closer looking for a handout. Well, if there’s no handout, it will eat your dog, your cat, your chickens, and yes, even a child. DO NOT FEED THE GATORS!

  8. I know guys who buy all the ammo they can see. Some new sheds are going up around here to hold munitions. Ammo is the new harley or corvette in the yard thing.

  9. Its all about who’s in charge of Washington at the moment. When the gun rights supporters are the majority everything is copacetic, when someone talks gun control its a buying frenzy for 4 years, and in this case 5, so far. Or that’s the way I have always believed.

    With exception of locals and swamp people, you can’t believe how fast a 600# gator can move. I have seen one grab and eat one of those nipping barking dancing little poodles, dog never stood a chance. I have heard for short distances they can outrun a horse, well that’s what I heard, maybe for 20 or 30 feet….LOL remember those guys on TV are just that. Think it was Ben Franklin who said, “Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you you see”.

    Like the old joke, you don’t have to be the fastest, you just can’t be the slowest, so shoot the other guy in the leg.

    • Ah, interesting observation/theory. Could be right.
      Gators are said to run up to 30 mph, but as you say, not for long distances. Also, they are tricky because they don’t grab their prey from the front of their snouts, rather they reach over to the side, and they can snap that head around and clamp down on your leg in a flash. That’s why I enjoy watching Gator Boys on TV. Those guys are either brave, insane, have a death wish, or all 3, but the things they do to and with gators amaze me.

  10. PS: I’ve been steadily working on how to perfectly mimic the shrimp and grits, and I think I’m just about ready for round 2. I think the secret is to saute` the shrimp separately from the sauce . . . . . we shall see.

    • The sauce looked like a combination of tomato sauce/paste and some type of cream such as sour cream, half & half, heavy cream or even cream cheese. Wonder if the shrimp are sauted in wine? Lots of high end restaurants use wine in their cooking. I would love to try a taste of it. Good luck with round 2!

  11. Don’t know for sure but from some of the pictures I saw of the Cafe Amelie S&G, it looked to me like the shrimp had been coated with seasoning and pan seared. The sauce and grits were probably prepared separately, then everything plated. See? I watch FoodTV! lol

    Stone ground grits are the way to go. Waaay better than the general brands you see on the grocer’s shelf.

    If you want really creamy grits, add some whole milk or, even better, some half and half as you’re cooking them. Not a lot; just enough. ‘Course you folks already know that.

    • Yep, looks like we just about have it figured out. The shrimp look that way to me, also. The grits are definitely cooked in milk. And I have now figured out the secret of the corn sauce and just now have to perfect it!!!!

  12. Just a thought… Are you using the 5 minute quick grits or the REAL ones that take 20 minutes to cook? I think it would be a sure bet that chefs use the real grits. The cooking shows I’ve seen use heavy cream when cooking grits.

    • Well, that’s weird. I was just in the bathroom brushing my tooth, and the idea when through my head that I needed to send out a group email to the gents asking what they want to talk about, and it’s my turn to moderate again . . . . soooooo . . . . I came here instead and see your question. I think it might be on the use of drones for LDWF agency enforcement! How ya like that idea?

          • There are still lots of folks like Pop that believe since they are not doing anything wrong, if the government wants to fly over or bug their phone or read his mail, he doesn’t care. If it helps stop crime or terrorism so be it. He has nothing to hide. He figured they are going to do it with or without your consent anyway. You get your day at the polls, and then whoever is elected does what they think nest and all you can do is complain (If you didn’t vote for them). He still remembers the gangsters and J.E Hoover’s war and thinks things like phones, mail, auto’s, etc are luxuries. You can live without them. The older I get the more I tend to agree with him. If you are so worried, are you using a cell phone?

            Our environment can and does change to meet the needs of the community. Remember when you were kids and there were small little mom and pop stores all over the place? Every couple a miles, for instances on the river was some small little store that was for all the people who didn’t drive. The system evolves to accommodate the needs of the group.

            I know 40/50 years ago the government had planes that could actually read the tread print left by a tire from a jet traveling at mach speed at 60,000 ft., Drones are just cheaper.

            What about Google earth? Do you seriously think that its not used for other than legal operations by the government”s” willing to buy time on it.

            What about ours government’s ships like the USS Pueblo, it’s the same as what are called AGI’s used by the other side. They have been in full operation since the Korean War. Or their aerial counterpart the AWAC’s.

            All these are in excess of 50 years old in use, you know the government has updated and replaces, especially since these were all for the day of vacuum tubes. If they can spy on other countries with little or no impunity what makes you think that the boundaries of the US are some protection from our or anyone else’s spying eyes?

            Looking now for my tactful shoes, people in South Louisiana can be a little bit independently willed. That’s how my Mom allowed my Dad to Say it about her mother. Basically head strong. we just don’t like the government telling us anything. Every time they want to change something in the past they have had to threaten Louisiana with taking away some type of funding to get it passed.

            If they are going to do it, this will be no different. They will fly drones to check illegals, or smugglers, while saying they are using it to check the migratory flights of the pelican. Then if not specifically pointed out by some politician seeking election all will be fine.

            Wow…. did I say all that? And on a non-political, environmental blog too?
            I so apologize.

  13. And on todays front page……….

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/09/09/Obama-White-House-had-NSA-limits-reversed/UPI-69311378710000/?spt=hts&or=2

    What makes you think drones are any different? AND… if even with a Drone hunting tag, don’t you think with all the money and hardware those being tracked now in the middle east have, if they can’t bring them down, what makes you think a 7Mag will do it in Colorado?

    What about the repercussions of “Swamp Folks” gator hunting upon the gator populations in the country. Places they were never really hunted before are now taking world record gators. Will this cause the Government to reevaluate the seasons as well as the tag limits in Louisiana because of this National popularity?

    • Okay, I find that article hard to decipher. Heat stroke and all.
      So, let’s talk about the alligator issues you raise. I’m not sure if you’re just playing devil’s advocate or what, but in La. we are ONLY allowed to hunt on lands previously surveyed by the landowner AND the department of wildlife to determine the number or viable alligator habitat to then determine the number of tags to be issued for each “alligator lease”. The LDWF can lower the number of tags for any parcel of land as they see fit. The number of tags goes up and down as the habitat dictates. This is a very, very well controlled program, so if anyone is indeed hunting where gators have never been hunted before, then it was the government that allowed it. And with the abundance of wild gators we already have plus the release of farm gators every year, the hunt must continue or we will be up to our necks in gators. The only negative impact national popularity has brought about are those knuckleheads who think they can just go shoot gators anytime, anywhere, and then are dumb enough to post photos on social media like Facebook. I say keep on posting those pics on FB, thereby making Enforcement’s job a whole lot easier!!!

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