By David A. Brown
Ask him his profession and T-Roy Broussard will tell you he’s a fireman. Truth – he’s served the Port Arthur Department for 25 years, the past decade as Captain. But ask him about his passion and that’s when the colorful details comes surging forward like a bull gator on a short trap line.
Like a deep bowl of filet gumbo, Broussard’s is a life steeped in southern authenticity and seasoned with accolades like the world duck calling championships he won at 13 and 16. Having spent his entire life in southeastern Texas, the hunt for feathered, fury and scaled quarry has infused his very being since he was old enough to walk.
These lessons, the encouragement, the outdoors heritage he so dearly loves; Broussard credits it all to His late father, Donnie Broussard, who built him his first boat at age 7. The 14-foot pirogue with a 4-hp outboard pales in comparison to the 600-hp airboat in which he now traverses the Texas swamps; but for a wide-eyed adventure seeker, it was Huck Finn’s river raft.
“Mom and dad would drop me off in the morning and the only rule I had was to make sure I was back by dark,” Broussard said. “That afforded me the opportunity to learn everything I know about the outdoors at a young age.”
Those experiences would serve him well when Texas reopened alligator hunting in 1984. His dad secured a bunch of tags and built a trapping business that Broussard took over in 2005. Now, his “Texas Swamp Stompers” company, which includes a guiding component, is the state’s largest private gator hunting operation.
In 2012, this hard-earned notoriety attracted an invitation to join the History Channel’s gritty reality show, Swamp People. For two seasons, Broussard added a well-received Texas element to the Louisiana-based show and broadened the intrigue with his no-nonsense brand of gator wrangling.
Broussard would leave reality TV in 2014 to pursue his longstanding dream of turning his lifetime love of bass fishing into a professional angling career. Finishing 10th in the FLW Rayovac Series Texas Division earned him a spot on the FLW Tour – an opportunity he’s now aggressively developing through focused skill development and exhaustive study of the nation’s top fisheries.
“I’m getting to live the dream by fishing against guys who are my heroes,” Broussard said. “I’m like a little kid in the candy store, but at the same time, I have a platform to share my personal faith and encourage others to enjoy hunting and fishing with their family.”
Broussard’s biggest bass weighed 11 pounds, 14 ounces. His biggest gator went nearly 13 1/2 feet. For success with a rod and reel, Broussard follows the same principles that have guided 32 years of gator-catching:
- Devote the time and energy to build success from the ground-up.
- Start and finish the job 150 percent committed.
- Maintain the physical ability to do the work and the mental toughness to focus on the objective.
Broussard’s No. 1 rule of gator hunting: “Never, ever wrap the line around your hand or step on the coil. There’s no one on this earth that can stop an alligator when he runs.”
That being said, Broussard once stumbled and fell onto a lively 10-footer and escaped relatively unscathed. That’s not sensationalism; it’s not boast. It’s T-Roy Broussard every minute of every day, regardless of who’s watching.
That’s what it takes to challenge grown gators, walk into burning buildings and spend long, lonely days on the road with the sole intent of getting home to his wife Dana and 6-year-old daughter Mallory.
That’s a man with the strength of body and mind to handle tough jobs; yet the kindness of heart and soulful sincerity to gladly use his position to educate and encourage others to share his love for the great outdoors – ideally, without the falling on gators thing.