'Swamp People' Star When a Man Hits a Woman ... Allegedly

10/4/2011 11:45 AM PDT

Nicholas Payne, 'Swamp People' Star -- When a Man Hits a Woman ... Allegedly

"Swamp People" troublemaker Nicholas Payne allegedly battered a FEMALE cop on the night he was arrested ... and then tried to escape into the woods ... this according to Louisiana police.

TMZ has learned ... the 26-year old gator huntin' apprentice was arrested last month for allegedly striking a female police officer in the chest ... while she was trying to write him a citation for disturbing the peace at a private home.

Law enforcement officials tell us Payne tried to run off into the woods after the attack ... so a K-9 unit was dispatched to find him.

We're told one of the dogs located Payne ... and bit the guy so hard, the reality star had to be taken to a nearby hospital so doctors could treat the wound.

Cops say Payne's injury has since healed up.

Payne is still behind bars -- because he has not paid his $10,000 bail.