One of the gator hunters on the History Channel reality show "Swamp People" is rotting away in a Louisiana jail cell ... after cops say he attacked a police officer last month.
TMZ has learned Nicholas Payne -- who served as apprentice to overall-wearing, American flag bandana sporting bad ass Bruce Mitchell -- was arrested on Sept. 23.
According to the police report, cops in St. Tammany Parish, Looooosiana got a call about a "disturbance" at a private home ... and when they got to the scene, Payne committed a battery on one of the responding officers with his "hands/fist/feet."
26-year-old Payne was arrested for disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and felony battery of a police officer. Payne's bail was set at $10,000 -- but he hasn't forked over the cash yet ... so he's still locked up.
A rep for History tells us, "Nicholas has not been part of the show since filming concluded last season ... and we have no additional comment."