Alligator season in Louisiana begins on the first Wednesday in September and lasts 30 days. In this time limit, many of the alligator hunters, following a tradition dating back 300 years, earn most of their yearly income in a high risk vocation dependent on experience and the whims of weather within strict regulation by wildlife laws. Hunters are each issued a certain number of tags that must be attached to their kills; once they "tag out" (run out of tags), their season is over, and they can no longer kill any more alligators the rest of the season. During this 30 day window, the hunters make most of their annual income culling gators; therefore, the ultimate goal for the gator hunters is to tag out before the season ends, with some tagging out in the final hours of the season, and some saving the last tag for their prize catch - the biggest and most-menacing alligator they can find. For seasoned hunters, alligator season is the most exciting—and dangerous—time of the year.
Each season, the series focuses on five teams of alligator hunters, with each episode generally featuring three or four teams, as they hunt gator, being subjected to the elements, and the viciousness of the alligators, even when they are dead. Some episodes also feature other aspects of the social and sporting life of the swamp, including fishing and hunting for other animals, such as squirrel.