With the increasing popularity of the show "Swamp People" on the History Channel, people all over the country now believe they, too, could be a gator hunter.  The state's alligator season is set to open Sept. 1. So, just how much does a gator hunter make for their time and effort -- not to mention the danger they put themselves in?

What kind of cash are these guys and gals really raking in?  Well first, I should tell you that the alligator is one of the most valuable exotic leathers in the world -- second only to the scarce saltwater crocodile. There's going to be a little competition, is what I'm saying.

So let's get down to it!

The alligator is a uniquely American product that is steadily increasing in value. From average prices of only $6 a foot in the 1960s and around $9 a foot as recently as 1983, the price per foot rose to well over $40 in the late 1980s.

Source--Louisiana Advisory Council

Don't get too excited yet.  What you have to know is the prices have come way down since the 1980's. One Louisiana newspaper, Vermilion Today, reported that in the 2010 season:

“A wild gator that is seven feet or longer sells for around $12 to $15 a foot. A 10-foot gator at $13 per foot will be purchased for $130. When the price was $40 per foot, that same gator was purchased for $400.”

So when Troy Landry pulls up a huge gator and nicknames him -- I might add like "T-rex" from the past season -- it might not be as valuable as you would think.

The state's advisory council estimates that in a one-month span of alligator season, Louisiana produces about 20,000 skins. The interesting thing you might not know is just because you bag a gator does not mean that you will get that $12 to $15 price.  The buyers of these gators have a grading system, as it turns out.  Gators are graded on a scale of 1-3 -- so you can have a mess of gators but if they don't make the grade, you won't make as much.

So after all that being said, are you still ready to "CHOOT EM?" Well, all you have to do is prove ownership of a piece of land deemed to have alligators on it, get yourself a $25 gator hunting license, and make an application.  The tags don't cost a thing.

Feel like you're still not quite ready? Well, here is a little training session from Troy Landry himself!

So, will I see you on the next season of "Swamp People?"