Reality TV lures out-of-state gator hunters to state

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Reality television may be bringing more out-of-state alligator hunters to Louisiana.

State alligator program head Noel Kinler says licenses issued to out-of-state trappers are on pace to eclipse last year's record of 507.

The 30-day season opens in eastern Louisiana on Wednesday and on Sept. 4 in western sections of the state.

Karl Zimmerman of Lake Charles says his family's hunting lodge began selling out on gator hunts after the History Channel's "Swamp People" became popular.

Authorities say arrests for killing alligators out of season rose from 33 in 2007 to 85 last year. So far this year there have been 54 poaching arrests.

Wildlife and fisheries Maj. Sammy Martin says some poachers said they were just doing what they'd seen on TV and didn't know about Louisiana's regulations.