SWAMP PEOPLE How much does a gator sell for? 2011 alligator price chart for Season 3

Swamp People Elmer Fudd alligator prices

The expert alligator hunters on Swamp People can control some of what makes them successful in the swamp. They can keep their equipment in good condition, hire the best helpers available, and decide just how many tags they think they can fill in the 30 (or 37) day Louisiana alligator season. But, there are a lot of things in their business that they just can’t control, and one of those things is the market price for alligators.

In the late 80’s, when alligator prices were at their peak, alligator hunters could sell a big gator with an excellent hide for over $40/foot. But, in 2010 (the second season of Swamp People), that same big, beautiful gator only sold for $15/foot. So, the same 10 foot gator would’ve brought in $400 in 1989 and only $150 in 2010. As Troy Landry has said many times, he’s not sure what he would’ve done if The History Channel hadn’t come along when they did.

Liz Cavalier Swamp People Alligator Hunting Louisiana

There was a little bit of good news for Louisiana alligator hunters in the 2011 season, though. Prices are up!

If a gator is 4’or less, a lot of buyers won’t give you anything for it (even though it eats up one of your precious tags). Some buyers will give you $1/foot. Obviously, though, selling 4’ gators can’t come close to covering the cost of catching them, not to mention feeding a family.

5’ gators went for $4/foot this year if they were whole and $6/foot if they were already skinned. 6’ gators went for $8/foot whole and $10/foot skinned. 7’ gators went for $14/foot whole and $16/foot skinned.

But it is when you get up over 8’ that gators start to be worth the work. At 8’, a whole gator brought in $22/foot this year, and a skinned one earned the hunter $24/foot. And, any gator 9’ or longer was worth $26/foot whole and $28/foot skinned.

Was all that just gobbledygook to you? Here’s a handy dandy 2011 alligator price chart that might make it easier to understand:

Swamp People 2011 alligator prices chart

UPDATE – The prices continue to inch up in the Swamp People Season 4 Alligator Price Chart!

So when Troy and Clint hauled “The Godfather” into Duffy’s in the Swamp People Season Three premier, the tape that stretched from toe to tail read 13 feet exactly. If “The Godfather’s” old, black hide was in perfect shape and they sold him whole, he would’ve been worth $338 (13 ft. x $26/ft); and, if they skinned him first, he would’ve brought in $364 (13 ft. x $28/ft). That means that a 13 ft. monster in 2010 is still worth less on the market than the $558 (13 ft. x $40/ft); it would’ve sold for in 1989 but a whole lot more than the $195 (13 ft x $15/ft) it would’ve brought in just last year.

And, that 13’ 6” behemoth that Liz Cavalier and Kristi Broussard could barely get into the boat? In 1989 (if they hadn’t been in middle school), they could’ve sold him for $540. Last year, they would only have gotten $202. But this year, they should’ve picked up at least $350.

So, what would all this mean for an alligator hunter’s bottom line? Well, that’s a bit more complicated and difficult to pin down (although you can read about our best estimate here). But, we can do a little guess work and make some educated guesses about how much cash the buyers might count out into the Swamp People‘s palms by the end of the season if they fill all their tags.

RJ and Jay Paul Molinere from Swamp People

RJ and Jay Paul Molinere have set, by far, the most ambitious goal for themselves this season, with 500 tags. Since they are hunting on lands in both the East and West regions, their season (like most of the rest of the Swamp People alligator hunters) is 37 days rather than 30 days; but, that still means that they need to average 13-14 alligators a day in order to fill their tags. Of course, to make their goal, they’ll also have to survive the season, which would mean not getting themselves killed doing reckless stuff. I know I’m not a professional alligator hunter, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they probably need to avoid (1) putting their faces into the water next to the mouth of a snapping alligator and (2) standing on top of floating marshes with an alligator underneath their feet. Just sayin’.

But, if RJ and Jay Paul don’t die and manage to fill all 500 tags, then what will they get paid for those gators? Since gator prices depend on size, we have to do some reckless guess work here. Let’s say that of those 500 tags, 50 are filled with monstrous gators 11 feet or longer, another 50 are 9-10 feet, 100 are 8-9 feet, 100 are 7-8 feet, 100 are 6-7 feet, 50 are 5-6 feet, and 50 are babies less than 5 feet long. And, let’s presume that they are too busy to skin the gators so they take the whole gator prices. Here’s how their take on that haul would break down.

50 11 ft. gators @ @26/ft = $14,300
50 9 ft. gators @ $26/ft = $11,700
100 8 ft gators @ $22/ft = $17,600
100 7 ft gators @ $14/ft = $9800
100 6 ft. gators @ $8/ft = $4800
50 5 ft. gators @ $4/ft = $1000
50 4 ft. gators @ $1/ft = $200

TOTAL $59,400

Don’t think I’ve estimated the size break-down correctly? I almost certainly haven’t, but at least you see how to do the math. How do you think it should break down?

Clint Landry and Troy Landry from Swamp People

Let’s say that Troy Landry stays King of the Swamp this year (a title that RJ very much wants for himself), and a greater percentage of his 430 tags are filled with big gators. What might his haul look like?

50 12 ft. gators @ $26/ft = $15,600
50 10 ft. gators @ $26/ft = $13,00
100 8 ft. gators @ $22/ft = $17,600
100 7 ft. gators @ $14/ft = $9800
50 6 ft. gators @ $8/ft = $2400
50 5 ft. gators @ $4/ft = $1000
30 4 ft. babies @ $1/ft = $120

TOTAL $59,520

So, if Troy and the boys could pull in gators this big, they could match the Molinere’s money, even though they have 70 fewer tags. Rest assured, that exactly what Troy is counting on, and precisely what RJ and Jay Paul don’t want to let happen. In this game, size really matters.

Bruce Mitchell Swamp People

But, there’s another interesting development this season that could be a game changer. Bruce Mitchell hired Ron Methvin to help him hunt this year, and Ron is a sniper. Why does this matter so much? Well, when you hang a line with rotten chicken on it, you never know what size gator you’re going to get. All the hunters have different techniques for hanging the bait just right to attract the big boys, but there’s never a guarantee. All you need is a little gator with a good nose and the will to jump up for the hook, and you’ve filled a tag with a not very valuable baby. But, if you’re not hanging lines . . . if you’re going straight for the gators, then you know what you’re going to put that tag on. That’s one of the reasons that Willie’s treble hook hunting is so important to the Edwards’ season. Willie doesn’t through the hook unless the gator is worth the effort. But, a sniper? That’s genius.

So, let’s say that Bruce’s operation is even more efficient than the King of the Swamp scenario above. What kind of a take could Bruce look for with his 300 tags? We have to make yet another adjustment for Bruce, too, since we know he runs his own processing plant. He will get the “skinned” rather than the “whole” price for his gators, at least. He’ll probably get an even better price than that since he’s doing the processing himself, but he also has overhead, etc.; so, let’s just use the “skinned” price.

50 12 ft. gators @ $28/ft = $16,800
50 11 ft. gators @ $28/ft = $15,400
50 10 ft. gators @ 28/ft = $14,000
50 8 ft. gators @ $24/ft = $9600
25 7 ft. gators @ $16/ft = $2800
25 6 ft. gators @ $10/ft = $1500
25 5 ft. gators @ $6/ft = $750
25 4 ft. gators @ $1/ft = $100

TOTAL $60,950

If Bruce pulls something like this off, then his 300 tags could quietly outproduce the Landry’s 430 tags and the Molinere’s 500 tags. As much as I love those father/son teams (and I really, really do), I’d love to see this soft-spoken, hard-working, very intelligent man (who apparently doesn’t like to wear shirts) pull this off.

Interested in learning more about these remarkable people? Take a look at our profiles on the Landrys and the Molineres.

Want to know more about the alligators in Louisiana? CLICK HERE to see a list of the History Channel’s “Fast Facts” about hunting and fishing in Louisiana.

Special thanks to Tommy Fletcher for providing us with the pricing info. Tommy is a nuisance gator hunter, gator buyer, alligator hunter, and alligator farmer. If you’re ever down Louisiana way be sure to check out his Utopia Gator Farm in Raceland, LA!

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  • Tiffany

    I LOVE this show!! $60K/year isn’t too bad… if they really make that much.

    • Nikk

      Tiffany they can net that but you also have to look at the cost of maintaining equipment, paying your help–even in a family operation, the cost of gas, etc. Many of them also bring in shrimp and other swamp animals during other seasons. Troy for example leads hunting expeditions and swamp tours when it isn’t gator season and now of course they have all the public appearances bringing in money. They are probably making pretty good bank now due to the show’s popularity.

      • Bobby

        It’s not a yearly salary. They make that in one month.

  • Nikk

    The only thing about these figures are that Bruce doesn’t take his to a buyer. He processes his own for meat, hides, etc. Basically Bruce is his own buyer so to speak. And he has to pay out his hired help rather than it being a family operation like Troy, RJ, and Junior have.

    • Dillon

      Nikk first off Bruce only has a hired hand every now and then rest of the time hes on his own and his family business is a gator farm that’s why he doesn’t sell to a buyer troy has a hired hand last season it was Liz this seasons Clint is back there’s always going to be expenses but even with there expense they make a hell of a lot more than the average American does In a year

      • Nikk

        Right, that was the point I was making–Bruce doesn’t sell to a buyer because he has his own business where he sells hides and processes the meat for sale. Yes the ones on the show might make more than the average American but most gator hunters are like these guys being featured either.

  • Varna Bini Banhara

    Very nice job with this notice. Here in Brazil we will wayting for the seasson 3 very excyting.

    • Ricky

      Dear ,

      My self Ricky from india and i like this job very much but here in india we dont have purmition to do this job. i am very hard working and i love eligators so much.. Can you please give me chance with you?

  • Matt_Miklasevich

    rj and jay paul never get a gator over 9ft

    • Leigh

      Lol I totally agree what they call 8 feet I call 4 feet lol

    • Susan

      RJ and JPaul suck!! Troy is and will always be king of the swamp. Especailly helping a friend out to fill his tags! Liz is awesome too. I miss hearing “shoot Lidaith, shoot!” and I love Troys singing “Ya ya ya yaa yaa!”

  • chuck norris

    Love it better than that jersey show! At least swap people work for their money!

  • HollywoodG8r

    What we are nbot figuring in is the royalties that these reality star actors get. Like ASCAP for musicians and the likelihood that these gator hunters have joined the Screen Actors Guild, they shoulf be having big money put into retirement, health insurance accounts and then lots of pocket money as well. I have experience with this form of royalty distribution and SAG. Why do you think that Mike “The Situation” on jersey Shore was a millionaire at one point? It’s form tall the re-broadcasts of the show. Some comes form appearances and endorsements. IF they have agents, they are getting their fair share fo the royalty monies unless they were hornswoggled into forfeiting them to the production company which has happened before elesewhere.. Butthe hide money is nothing compared to the way that this show and Deadliest Catch re-airs.

    • Starcasm Staff

      Reality stars are not members of SAG. Some reality stars do get hefty salaries for the first runs of the episodes though. Plus, stars like the Jersey Shore kids score tons of appearance fees, endorsement deals, and even start up their own companies and products, so they’re set.

      • HollywoodG8r

        Anyone can join SAG first of all. Second, if you have a song that is used in a commercial as a musician you can join SAG and certain companies have contraqts with SAG to fund your retirement and health. But i just checked the SAG contract for residuals. The reality stars get upfront money form the production company to become under contract to shoot the series. THEN, when it airs, SAG pays them for the first airing and the first rerun OF EACH UNIQUE EPISODE. These residuals can add up. They get two residual checks per episode PLUS the money that put them under contract to agree to do the series. And then appearances and all the fluff is up to them to develop. Capt. Sig has his own fish sticks for example.

        • HollywoodG8r

          This notion of residuals factoring in is likely why the Todd Hoffman guy with the pointy goatee on Gold Rush got all mad when they turned his one story and cast into three separate stories of three different mines – they got less face time with the camera and therefore a smaller residual check. Granted, joining SAG and being bound to union rules about paying the “actors” can make a low-budget production team run away from you as an a actor. I am not sure if the production company can force the “actors” not to join SAG as part of the initial contract. If they all joined SAG mid season, how they got paid would change a lot and get expensive to the production company.

  • goodguy30wrw

    being from the country and having family down in those louisiana swamps, and actually one of my best friends grew up across the street from troy.. we dont care about the money. life is about living and loving what u do for a living.. whats do u see them guys doing when they aint working? they enjoying time with the family. that first and foremost. nobody cares bout getting caught up in all this money and fame and glory garbage cuase it dont mean nuttin.. God and family are what it all about…

  • floyd idom

    I real want to try that if any one of the swamp hunter let me do it

    • Junior

      Gator season starts in my area September 5th this year. I only get about 20 tags and make around 5 grand. but im selling EVERYTHING myself. We dont get paid much for gators at the market, better to sell it youself, meat, hide, head, teeth etc…. more money dat way.

  • gatorhater

    Isn’t that about 60K for 37 days though? The gator hunting season is real short. I’d do that for 60K for 37 days for sure. I’d probably lose a leg or arm though….hmm, yeah, maybe I wouldn’t want to do it.

  • Gary

    love the show. it opens up my eyes to see how people live in different parts of our great country. Without them hunting gators we would all be in danger. I was hopeing that they (gators)were worth more. It is a very dangerous job and one that has to be done. I dont know about anyone else but I would not risk my life for what one gator can bring (it only takes one to kill you).Ofcourse the kids protecting our freedom probably make alot less (what a shame). Keep up the good work swamp people we dont need them gators moving up anyfurther north!
    And getting paid to do the show is great! I am sure that they dont worry about the money (it apparent ) because we are on season 3 and poor old tom still has the same shirt!lol.

  • Jackie

    I just want to make a qick comment on the the show. I a female, I’m from the city of Ft. Lauderdale FL and I hate anything that has to do with being outdoors and getting dirty. But this show is by far one of the greatest shows to ever be shown on TV and I am a major television junky. I am obessed the the Swamp People, I don’t have a particular favorite but I love Glen and Mitchell they remind me of my relative in Georgia (country and funny as hell). Troy is the greatest, because he knows his shit and has a unique way of making you feel his passion. Tommy and Joe just Cool Peeps they keep it 100, they fight one minute and laughing the next. Jr and Willie (off the chain), I love to see Willie throw that Travel Hook (OMG) you know something exciting is going to go down. I have never been to New Orleans and before the show, when you hear of New Orleans we seem to associate it with the (Katrina) tragedy. With this show, I myself can put a face the individuals and how their lives where affect and how strong they came back. I have a whole new respect for these people and what they do. I just want to say to all of you, keep the shows coming and when the hunting season is over give us more. Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!!

  • richard scott

    i would like to see troys or lizzs home orwhere they hunt if i had an adress i could pull it up on goodle earth

  • Brenda

    I think that Liz totally rocks!! She shows how truly hard yet friendly life in the swamp really is. Having Kristi on board is a plus as well. Anyone who has anything negative about Liz should be ashamed!! She is a very tough lady!! Yes, I said lady!! And Kristi is just as tough and femeinine. All you people out there that don’t think women should be in the show are sadly mistaken! It’s not just a mans world on the swamp or anywhere else!! Keep up the good work ladies!!

  • Marc

    I have nothing but ABSOLUTE respect for these guys (gator hunters), the Deadliest Catch people and Ax Men. You guys put real meaning and integrity on how to make an HONEST LIVING vs. those creeps in Wall Street and Washington. You are great role models for the future generation of our great country. Keep it up and may God perpetually keep you from harms way.

    I’d like to make special mention for Glen and Mitchell (R.I.P) for showing us happiness and living life to the fullest with just the basics in life. Full of life and swamp smarts. There is no university that can teach you that.

    Lastly to Shelby of Ax Men. I must say, you my man gave me and my son plenty of laughs whenever you come up with Haaaaaaa! or your Heeeeeeheyyyyysssss! on the show. You’re all real. May you keep Willie safe at all times and may you find the elusive 100,000 board feet! Keep it up my man! BTW, with your latest find and sale of 15,000 square foot logs especially with the Cuban mahogany worth $20,000, be kind to Davi and buy him a years supply of anti-fungal cream! Haaaaaaaaa!

  • Swamp people totally depicts real life and true friendships that the rest of the country should take note of

  • Lynn

    These guys & gals get up everyday regardless of any mother nature, or what not, they’ve got such a great, beautiful, and strong demeaner, the pride, friendship, kindness they all show to one another is something else, and I truly wish the world could be that way to one another, sadly its not but those watching the show can see what real human nature is or learn something. Look at Troy and is attitude its awesome hes always got a smile, as well for Liz & Kristi.

    • Mary

      My feelings exactly. We have lost something in our way of life that they have been able to hang on to. They have so much more going for them then most of us. I hope they keep showing this show. Great people I would love to meet each and everyone of the.

  • albert

    how much is tag

    • thomas terrell

      Resident alligator hunting licenses cost $25 and there is no cost for alligator tags.

  • albert

    how much do you lose if not tag out

    • Fabienne

      $50.00 a tag these poor people!! Do they make even &9,000 went all is said and done?????

  • chasidy

    how do they get the hook out after they shoot them???

    • George

      I too want that ? Answered … Unless they are gutted at sale . Or maybe they have a code on the hook! I would like to know

  • Sherry

    Great show …. rolling stone never grows moss
    Liz is the Best!!!!

  • Mary

    For what they go thru it sure does not pay very much. They truly must love their life to do that. I am so greatful to the history channel for airing swamp people. It gives me a look fresh look at hard working people and what it was like for their forefathers and family. I liked every single one of the people that the history channel showed. I would be honered to live next to them. They have a better appreciation of family and friends then most of the rest of us.

  • Mary

    I wish I was a relative of one of them. Then maybe I would get invited to a fish fry or should I say and aligator fry. 🙂

  • Mary

    These people are really the winners. If america has major problems I know the ones that won’t miss a beat. They will be able to feed their family and friends and their will be no in fighting because they are truely caring people.

  • JPR

    Jay Paul is a crazy bad ass mother Love those Guys

  • Ryan

    So basically the leather crafters are the biggest scammers this side of pawn shops when it comes to how much they are price gouging.

  • Compared to the Jersey Shore, these hard working, selfless Americans are the salt of the earth.

  • Luke

    Rj and jay Paul should both be kings of the swamp.

  • Matt H.

    I work in the commercial fishing industry in Maine. And I wish folks here had just half of the character those folks have! It is truly a pleasure to see people put others needs ahead of their own. I love how both on and off the swamp life, is measured by what good you do for others in their time of need, time spent with family and friends and a true love for what they do for a living. My Grandfather always told me character is what you do, when no one is looking! These folks are the poster child for that quote. Their good nature has me seriously reevaluating my station in life. I am considering relocating to their area but am not sure how new comers are looked at in my line of work. I am a commercial fisherman by trade and love what I do but, I long for the comradery and good nature these people have for one another.

  • rifat

    i want to start a alligator firm now what kind of information i have to be gather then whats my step ………somebody inform me………

  • mr64

    What’s cool is that they are doing what they like.

  • Donny

    What a bunch of douchebags in these programs. If there is an overpopulation with alligators i can understand why they have to put down some of them.
    But when i see a guy do the alligator shuffle and see how happy it makes some douchebag rednecks to kill animals, there is realy something wrong with humanity. My kids aren’t allowed to watch to these brainless programs anymore.
    If you love animals you respect them , even after you killed them..

    • tim

      A wimp, raising wimps. They aren’t pissing on them, they are happy that the gator didn’t kill them, you troll.

      • Donny

        I am a troll? Is it so bad that i care? I stated that i understand why. But it doesn’t have to become entertainment like this. You’re the troll here. If we were not with 7 billion people on this planet and we didn’t came in their territories we didnt have to worry about them eating us!

        • Chris P

          Another idiot!

      • Donny

        In other words. There are too many people on this planet. Not too many alligators..

  • dissturbbed

    Talk about worthless imo, more of a sport than a money maker. It cost thousands for setup, gas, equipment, and etc.

  • Martina Vaslovik

    I really want a stuffed 12 ft alligator to put outside my front door for when the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come calling, they won’t leave me alone. From what I find out it would cost me $3336.00. I think it’s worth it. I have so little fun….