The Atchafalaya Basin in south central Louisiana is home to a variety of wildlife, with alligators as the apex predators. Culling its population rested on the shoulders of alligator hunters such as Chase Landry who made a living out of it. Their way of life particularly during hunting season was featured in History Channel’s “Swamp People.” Chase’s magnetic personality and skills as a sharpshooter made him a fan favorite, so it was quite a shock to many when they heard that in 2016, he’d fired at a boat while hunting, and was arrested for it.
- 1 Background on “Swamp People”
- 2 Get to know the Landrys
- 3 Chase Landry on “Swamp People”
- 4 Interesting things about Chase
- 5 Rumored love interest
- 6 Chase Landry’s arrest
Background on “Swamp People”
Millions of alligators reigned supreme over all the other wildlife in the 10,000-square-mile maze of wetlands and bayous in Louisiana. If left unchecked, their population could explode and create problems for the locals. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries set a 30-day hunting season, in which the ‘swampers’ could reduce their numbers. Alligator leather, known for its durability and softness, was valuable as it was much in demand for making quality footwear, apparel, bags and sports equipment. In one month, the hunters could earn half of their yearly income. The rewards might be great, but the risk was huge as well, because alligators were highly dangerous creatures – they had powerful jaws and were hardwired to kill. Also, one could get lost in the swamps, as there were no maps or landmarks.
MEET THE SWAMP PEOPLE: Troy Landry’s youngest son Chase is joining his family’s hunting team and business for the first…
The reality series followed licensed alligator hunters as they faced off with vicious predators. The number of alligators that they could kill was limited to the number of tags that they were issued with. Hunters often used baited steel hook suspended above the water attached to a thousand-pound-test line that was strung on a tree branch near the bank. Once an alligator took the bait, the hunter would reel it in, so his partner would have a clear shot of the alligator’s most vulnerable part behind the skull. After it was killed, it would be loaded to the boat and a tag would be placed near the end of its tail.
Its TV premiere in 2010 attracted over four million viewers, and the succeeding seasons continued to generate interest. The 14th season began airing in January 2023.
Get to know the Landrys
Chase Michael Landry is the son of Troy Landry, dubbed as the “King of the Swamp” for being one of the greatest alligator hunters in the country. He and his brother Jacob began hunting with their father. The rest of the family appeared in the series, and people could see the special bond they shared. Troy said that part of the Cajun culture was that they went the extra mile to make sure that they stayed close as a family. They had get-togethers once or twice a week, and had cookouts.
The Landrys owned Duffy’s gas station located on Highway 70 in Pierre Part, Louisiana, where the crawfish and crabs they caught were sold. It was named after Chase’s grandfather, whose presence was a constant reminder for them on the value of family. The service station was where Troy met his team for briefings before they set out to hunt alligators.
Chase Landry on “Swamp People”
Troy expected his sons to take over the business and carry on with the family tradition. He trained his eldest and brought him along on his boat during hunting season, until Jacob was ready to be captain of his own boat. Then, he tasked Jacob to train Chase. The Landrys worked as a team in hauling in as many and as big alligators as they could, year after year.
First appearance, the first day of hunting season
Chase was introduced in the series third season, as Troy needed help in filling 430 tags that hunting season, 110 more than the previous year. For the first time in a decade, the price of alligators was up, and so the Landrys wanted to catch huge ones in the bayou. Troy divvied up the tags between two teams, as he and his right-hand man Clint were in one boat, while Chase and Jacob were manning the second one. He instructed his sons to catch the big alligators that would bring in the big bucks. By the end of the day, Troy caught a boatload of alligators, 23 in total, with the biggest at 13 feet and weighing around 850lbs. This old monstrous alligator, nicknamed ‘the godfather,’ had been terrorizing the locals staying in the camps during weekends.
As for Chase and Jacob, their first catch was a five-footer, and they knew that their father wouldn’t be happy about that; the pressure was on Jacob as he’s the captain. He knew from experience that the best way to get a big one was to do it in open water, so they did that. From around 180 meters (200 yards) away, they spotted a huge alligator. To get a clear shot, Jacob dropped Chase off onto an old platform in the middle of a cove. After Chase shot the alligator with his big rifle, he could feel his body shaking due to the adrenaline rush; it was nearly 12 feet long, and so far the biggest one he’d killed. Troy was proud of his sons, as they did better than he expected.
Faced off with a feisty alligator (season six)
When an alligator was caught via the hook-and-line method, it could either stay underwater or make its way to the bank. Dispatching the alligator was said to be more dangerous when it was on land as it could run at the speed of 55kph (35mph), which was way faster than a human – most hunters preferred to shoot an alligator from the relative safety of a boat. One time, Chase had to get off the boat and onto the bank to get into position so he could shoot the alligator, but it was quite aggressive and it moved so fast. It kept snapping its jaws as it faced Chase, and then as it seemed as if it was getting ready to launch itself at Chase, Jacob killed it.
A little competition between father and sons (season seven)
Doing the same thing year after year could become monotonous, so Troy tried to keep things interesting for his team of hunters, especially if they had a slow start and still had over 400 tags to fill. He suggested a little competition – who would catch the biggest alligator that day. He partnered up with the boys’ uncle, while Chase teamed up with Jacob.
Chase said that his father taught him and Jacob everything they knew about hunting but they had since learned how to do things they believed to be more effective. He looked forward to the challenge, and beat his father. He said that Troy was old school, and preferred putting out 150 lines a day, but he and Jacob knew from experience that the best way to get monstrous alligators was through open water shots. Chase was good with his big rifle, but they had to be fast in snagging the alligator into the boat because it would sink fast once hit. That time, as he reeled in the alligator he shot, it was only wounded and still had some fight left; Jacob gave it the killing shot.
By the end of the day, Troy was confident that he’d caught the biggest, an 11-footer, but it turned out that his sons hauled in a 12-footer. The boys had fun teasing their father, and Troy said that setting up a competition like this and having them outdo him made them better hunters.
Training Chase to be a good captain (season nine)
Troy felt it was time for Chase to learn how to become the captain of the boat, and asked Jacob to train him. This proved to be a challenging task for Jacob, as it was clear that Chase was hardheaded and still immature for that role, even if he was already 30. The brothers were running behind schedule that hunting season, as it seemed that Chase couldn’t get his act together. He once slept late and failed to attend a team meeting, so Jacob had to fetch him from his house while their father went ahead to start hunting.
That day didn’t get any better, as Chase forgot to put bullets in the rifle, and only realized it when he was supposed to shoot the alligator they caught. When reeling in an alligator, it was important to kill it fast because as it struggled to escape, there was a good chance that the line would get cut. The two also argued, as Chase asserted his authority as captain while Jacob got mad at his brother for not listening to him, and doing things his own way even if he was wrong.
Tension was high between the two, and back on land, Jacob accidentally broke the tail light on Chase’s trailer as he was backing up, and the latter retaliated by doing the same thing to Jacob’s trailer. Despite Jacob’s earlier statement that he’s never going to be in the same boat with Chase again, they continued hunting alligators together that season, as they heeded their father’s advice.
— Swamp People (@SwampPeople) March 5, 2014
Interesting things about Chase
Bonded with Jacob over Taxidermy
Jacob enjoyed doing taxidermy work, and his man cave was filled with his taxidermy mounts, which were mostly deer, but he also had an alligator, a duck, and a bear, all of which he’d hunted and killed. He believed that Chase would have a better appreciation for it once it was mounted on the wall, if he did the work himself, so he invited his brother to his shop to show him how it was done. Chase brought the skin of the latest deer that he’d killed, and the two worked together in putting the horn, eyes, and skin over a deer mannikin, or form.
He shared that for as long as he could remember, Jacob and their dad had been deer hunters, and they would always talk about who got the biggest one. Chase was more of a duck hunter at that time, but every time he tagged along with them in one of their hunts, he always ended up bagging the biggest deer.
Saved ‘Bambi’ from a monster alligator
The brothers found a new spot to hunt for alligators, but as they were searching, they spotted a fawn that had somehow gotten its way into the water and couldn’t seem to find its way back to land. They knew that it wouldn’t last the night if they didn’t help it, especially since there was a big alligator lurking nearby. Chase said, ‘What kind of person would I be if I sit there and don’t save that little deer?’ The alligator submerged and headed towards the fawn, but before it could get to its prey, Chase used a treble hook and line to reel in the alligator so Jacob could kill it. After that, he grabbed the fawn and took it to the woods.
Rescued flood victims for five days
Prolonged rainfall in August 2016 resulted in catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, and the government declared a state of emergency. Thousands of people were stranded in their vehicles or homes because of it. Once Chase realized the seriousness of the situation, he met with his friends from the Baton Rouge law enforcement agency, and in the next five days helped rescue people with his 20-foot aluminum flat-bottomed boat. He said that it was pure chaos, as people were really scared considering that the flooding was unprecedented. He tirelessly went wherever he was asked to go by the police, and helped as many people as he could.
Chase said, ‘Seeing everyone get together and forgetting about what color we are or what this and that one said…what was important came out. … If you see your brother or sister or neighbor in a bind, you’ll help them.’
Rumored love interest
Pickle Wheat joined “Swamp People” in its 12th season, as Troy’s new deckhand. The two got along well, as he treated her like his own daughter. She and Chase worked together in hunting alligators in Cow Island Lake, by taking turns as a shooter with Troy driving the airboat. Soon, rumors that she and Chase were dating circulated online. Fans believed that it was natural to link them together considering they were both attractive and had great chemistry on screen, but there was really nothing to it. Some thought there was some truth to it because on her Facebook page in 2020, her status indicated that she was in a relationship with Chase Landry, although it was later deleted.
It was confusing to some, because in 2017, Troy posted photos of Chase’s firstborn, Riley Blake, on social media as they welcomed her to the world. There were photos of Chase holding her in his arms but none of the mother, who was later reported to be Chelsea Kinsey, and that soon after giving birth, the two went their separate ways. Chase never talked about his personal life, so not much was known about his relationship with Chelsea or Pickle. Later on, it was revealed that Pickle has a boyfriend named Josh Kippes, who has a son from a previous relationship, and that she’s pregnant and scheduled to give birth to a daughter in May 2023.
Chase Landry’s arrest
It was a Friday night in Bayou Chene when Chase fired a gun at a commercial shrimp boat while he was out hunting for alligators. There was a lot of speculation surrounding this incident, as many wondered if he’d had an altercation with the people on the boat or if he accidentally shot at them.
According to a police report, the victims met with the water patrol deputies from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) and said that as they were passing by some people in a boat with alligators, a guy took a shot in their direction. It was said that the bullet appeared to have hit a plastic gas can that was on top of a cabin, and it was leaking gasoline from a gunshot hole. Chase had been pulled over by a St. Mary Parish patrol at a traffic stop, and brought in for questioning at the TPSO. He admitted to firing at the speeding boat as it refused to slow down, and he feared that his boat would be hit, causing it to sink. No one wanted to be in the open water with alligators in it. He was charged with the illegal discharge of a weapon, and was booked into jail. It was reported in 2017 that he‘d failed to appear in court on the first day of his trial, and so a warrant for his arrest was issued by a judge.
Some fans were disappointed by Chase’s behavior, and couldn’t understand how a guy who saved ‘Bambi’ from an alligator and who rescued people during the Louisiana flooding in 2016 could fire at another boat and endanger its occupants.
No one knew what happened to the case or to Chase, as the Landrys were mum about this. In fairness to him, this was the first time he was involved in something like this. One could only hope that there wouldn’t be a second time, as the Landrys were much loved by fans of the show.