Conservation and Trapping Science

Welcome to the Nutria Rodeo: The Most Insane, Bloody, and Fun Conservation Effort in America
Feb 11, 2022 07:13 ET

As the airboat skids across the mudflat, the two shooters up front draw their beads on the nutria that’s running at one o’clock off the bow. Captain Walter Heathcock accelerates, closing the distance between us and the giant rat, and the 12-gauges thunder over the roar of the boat’s propeller. The pellets spray plumes of water into the air, along with a soggy puff of fur that hangs there for a moment like dust.

Heathcock slows the boat and brings it alongside the dead nutria, taking his left hand off the tiller so he can reach for the gaff behind him. Then, a quick swipe of the long-handled hook and the muddy, oversized rodent flips over the gunnel and into the bottom of the boat, bringing the day’s tally to 53. And after a couple fist-bumps and a quick reload, these boys are ready for more. So Heathcock jams on the gas, spins the airboat around, and sends us flying across the marsh again in search of No. 54.

Full story here.