Blake McDonald and Austyn Yoches are the newest alligator hunters to join the cast of Swamp People, and they represent yet another way 21st century Louisianans have figured out how to get back to their bayou roots.
When they’re not hanging lines and figuring out how to hoist monstrous alligators into little boats in the middle of nowhere, most of the hunters on Swamp People live lives not that different than the rest of us. Troy and Jacob Landry and their families might meet out at the boathouse for a party, but they go home to a house with a driveway and Internet access. Junior and Willie take comfort in good food and a comfy recliner when they get back to their homes in the evening. Same with Joe and Tommy and RJ and J Paul. Even Bruce, after he finishes cleaning the gators in his processing plant, walks across the yard to a pretty normal home.
The Guist Brothers are a little different, of course. Besides having facial hair that’s a little more . . . um . . . dramatic than their co-stars, Glen and Mitchell Guist just seem to have a different feel for the swamp than the rest of the Swamp People. But, maybe, they’ll have some kindred spirits this season in Blake and Austen. A few more years in the swamp and, who knows, they might even look alike.
Instead of putting their boat on trailer hitched to a pickup that tows it back to a comfortable house built on solid ground, Blake McDonald and Austyn Yoches roll right out of bed and into their swampy workplace. These cousins live on a houseboat in the middle of the swamp . . . off the grid. Like the Guists, they don’t just work in the swamp, they live there. But, unlike Glenn and Mitchell, Blake and Austyn don’t have another job. If they want to eat, they have to hunt.
This year Blake and Austyn are making a move, though. Rather than just filling a few tags and finding other ways to make ends meet, these cousins are going to do their best to hunt alligators full time. They have an opportunity to get more tags than they’ve ever had before, but they’re going to have to prove that they can handle them or the owner of the land where they want to hunt will find someone else to fill his tags.
(For more information about how alligator hunters make their money and how the tag system works, check out our article on how much money an alligator hunter makes.)
Austyn and Blake aren’t out in the swamp all alone, though. Besides the alligators (and the skeeters) they have their trusty canine companion, Manneaux. Those gators don’t have a chance.
The History Channel’s Swamp People Season 3 premieres Thursday, February 9 at 9pm ET/PT.