Swamp People on History has gotten an infusion of some good old fashioned whoop ass energy thanks to one redhead from Mississippi.
Ashley “Dead Eye” Jones is many things, a loving wife to a successful attorney, a mother of three children, an entrepreneur and now a bonafide TV star.
But her path to fame was an unusual one and it was a fortuitous friendship that she and her husband made with Cajun Ronnie Adams which lead this sharpshooter with mad skills to History channel, and the fans have taken notice.
Over the last few seasons, we got the Landry’s breakout star, Holden, aka Holey Boley and the Edgar clan’s breakout new favorite, Big Tee, who is a sweetheart and hunts with Mr. Daniel.
But Ronnie and Che (his version of “bro”) have everyone talking and hoping the powers that be will give this duo a spin-off for feral hog hunting or something to keep the magic going.
On tonight’s episode, Holey Boley and Jacob are night hunting gars, alligator-like fish that can grow longer than a man. The Edgar’s (minus Big Tee) are shrimping with Zak Catchem (real name) and work at night out in the bay.
The Molinere’s are bow fishing for redfish and Frenchy and Gee are night froggin’ and our two overachievers Ronnie and Che are in Mississippi trying out gator hunting, and spoiler alert: It’s a real pain in the you-know-what.
The breakout star of this season’s Swamp People has serious marksmanship skills, making her invaluable to Adams as they scour the swamp for gigantic alligators.
We spoke with Ashley ahead of tonight’s Night Terrors episode:
Monsters and Critics: I’ve been covering Swamp People for several years and really feel like your casting has infused an energy into the series that it needed. I read what people are saying on social media and a lot of women are really excited about this season. How do you feel about inspiring women to not be afraid to get out there and maybe even try hunting?
Ashley Jones: That’s really what I was hoping to do. If nothing else, just inspire them to do something that they think they can’t do. Because anything you have a passion for you can do, as long as you give 100% effort and as long as that message is being played for women that’s amazing, it’s awesome.
It’s great to have a platform to be able to do that. If anybody were to have experiences like I’ve had in the outdoors, they would be just as crazy about it as I am, so getting people involved in it is really rewarding.
M&C: When you do go hunting, do you eat your kills and share the meat with people?
Ashley Jones: Oh yes. Typically if it’s a landowner that is allowing me to hunt there, I’ll definitely make sure that they get as much as they want. We absolutely use every bit of the animals that we can.
Anything that we’re not using. We make sure to not waste anything and we’re as ethical as we can be about things … it may even be hard for us.
Other people think if you’re deer hunting or doing any kind of other hunting that you may be, that you just don’t like those animals, but the truth is we love them. We love them more than other people do, but that’s part of it.
They just get diseases and can be a danger to people. The real danger, a deer can run out in front of cars and cause a wreck. There’s all kind of things that people don’t think about. We try to be as ethical as we can and make sure that we’re following all the laws as far as wildlife goes. That way we can pass it on to our kids and teach them to be good sportsmen.
M&C: You came late to the hunting game though because based on what I read in the Clarion-Ledger article, your husband took you out of your familiar and brought you out deer hunting. Talk about that.
Ashley Jones: Yes I grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, right in the middle of Jackson, so we didn’t hunt, my parents didn’t hunt. My mom is from California and my dad just grew up in the city of Jackson as well so I’ve never really had anybody to take me, so I really didn’t have an interest in going.
I just agreed with going with him because he seemed so enthusiastic about it. I got out there and we just had an awesome experience. I’ve never killed a deer for the first two years that I had hunted and so just being out there was awesome and watching all the wildlife and everything wake up and listening to all the birds chirping it just created a passion in me, like a fire that I can’t put out. I haven’t been able to yet. So all my money and time goes to that. [laughs]
M&C: How quickly did you come out of your depression when you started hunting with your husband? Did you ever ask your husband, “Hey did you know that this was going to help me?” If he knew in the back of his mind that was going to fix, for lack of a better word, what was going on?
Ashley Jones: He just said that he knew that he knew that I didn’t have anything that I was really, really passionate about. He said we’d always just go to the football games and do whatever it was that I wanted to do, but it was never something that you just thought up and wanted to do yourself or do in your spare time alone.
He was like, everybody needs that. He had tried to tell me beforehand but he said he didn’t really want to build my hopes up too much and then it be boring to me.
So he said he tried not to mention too much about it, but knew that it would help.
He said, “Either you’re going to hate it or you’re going to love it. I just knew that if you had the full experience then you would love it.”
It only took me about a week, honestly. It was something that got me up out of bed immediately to go focus on doing and it really helped me get through a hard time in my life for sure.
M&C: Now you all have three children, correct?
Ashley Jones: That’s right. My oldest boy is 11. Then I have a girl, she is seven. Then the youngest son just turned four in December. He’s the baby.
M&C: Swamp People is shot in Louisiana in the Bayous there. Now you’re from Mississippi and your husband’s firm is in Mississippi. How are the logistics of you living in Louisiana? How do you all manage that?
Ashley Jones: We just make it work. My husband is able to go back and forth, having his own firm, so we just have a camp there and the kids come down on the weekends so that’s not very long, so we make it work.
M&C: Some Swamp People fans think you guys all socialize after the show wraps. How often do you guys cross paths with the rest of the Swampers? I know you do at the docks when you’re all counting your gators and selling the carcasses to the dealer, but do you really socialize at all other than with Ronnie… Do you socialize with any of the other Swamp People?
Ashley Jones: I keep up with all of them. They’re all hunters throughout the year too, so we try to all keep up on social media and things like that to see what each other is up to.
We’re the only other ones that understand what it’s like to be out there doing that, how hard it is, so you can’t help but have a connection with all of them.
Everybody in Louisiana is so awesome and they’re just great people. I’ve really enjoyed my time there. All Ronnie’s family is like my family now. I call his mom “mom.” We just all hit it off. My mom calls Ronnie probably more than me.
M&C: I love that. I love when he cooked for you guys too, for you and husband Chad and your family with all his kin.
Is he a good cook?
Ashley Jones: He is, and he likes to do it so that’s … he’s not forced to do it…or he acted like he did anyway [laughs].
M&C: How did you and Ronnie cross paths?
Ashley Jones: He actually still does it, but he charters hog hunting and so I was online and we were friends on Facebook. Somebody had mentioned … said I wanted to go down to Louisiana and go hog hunting so they ended up a couple people tagging him in it so I called him, and me and my husband went down there and went hog hunting.
We all just hit it off really good. We were all just great friends from the beginning.
Whenever he got the opportunity it was easy for him to have somebody to choose from. He knew that I’m a good shot. I’m not scared to get nasty and I can at least handle it, [laughs] you know?
M&C: Yeah. And he did you a real good turn. He pitched you to producers?
Ashley Jones: I believe so. I know there were a lot of other people that were, I’m sure, just as capable but I’m really thankful that I was able to it.
M&C: Everybody wants to know. Are you going to be back for next season of Swamp People?
Ashley Jones: Yeah. We’re going to have to watch and see.
M&C: You mentioned the hog hunt. People are really curious about feral hogs. It’s an interesting thing to see you hunt other things that aren’t gators. I know on tonight’s episode you and Ronnie hunt in Mississippi which is really cool. Do you think that they’ll do a show about other aspects of hunting in the swamps that aren’t gator related?
Ashley Jones: I would certainly hope so. They definitely would have enough material from me.
M&C: No lie.
Ashley Jones: Everybody always asks me, “Why don’t you have your own TV show?” Even before I did Swamp People. Because I’m always in the woods doing something and if you’re there enough you’re going to eventually get lucky and do something really cool. I wish I had my own camera.
M&C: You and Ronnie have a really good chemistry working together but I’ve noticed tonight in Mississippi, Ronnie got frustrated. The bugs and the carp and the state laws and he cannot keep quiet. He got testy. He was over the flying carp. Y’all were inhaling bugs. It was like there was no gators and you’ve been out there for hours and you could just see he was worn down. Talk about that
Ashley Jones: Oh yeah. He told me I was “shushing” him all night. I know. He is so loud. I don’t know, I’m sure that’s not the only little tidbit that we got into, being as hot as it was in Louisiana, working as hard as we were and getting up early and having long days just makes you frustrated alone.
Plus spending that much time with somebody else other than your spouse can get frustrating, but we got along pretty good for the most part. Even if he was frustrated he brushes it off pretty quickly, I’m sure.
That night was especially hard. It was hard hunting. It’s different hunting in Mississippi. You have to actually hunt them you can’t fish them.
The only way I can explain the difference … it really is hard and bringing somebody that doesn’t know exactly which steps to do in Mississippi when it’s so critical and it happens so fast. It’s a much bigger task.
I’m sure it’s a great episode. It was a great time. I’m really looking forward to seeing that one. Everybody should be, even if they don’t like us, they’re going to at least like to watch us get hammered by these Asian Carp [laughs].
M&C: The carp and they’re not good eating fish either, otherwise you guys would be like, “Yay! Carp are flying in the boat. But no, it’s like they’re not delicious fish.
Ashley Jones: [Laughs] No.
M&C: How did you get that nickname Che from Ronnie? Where did that come from?
Ashley Jones: It’s not a specific name just for me actually. He calls everybody Che. Its kind of like people will say bro or sis or girl. It’s kind of like a term of endearment. It’s like … I don’t know. It’s just one of those words.
People get so frustrated, but God love him, that’s just how he is and just to set the record straight I’m so happily married and Ronnie was nothing but respectful to me.
I can’t wait for him to find somebody that he deserves because he’s going to make somebody a great husband one day he’s a really good man. I couldn’t have picked a better partner to have out in the swamps. He had my back and I have his, always. If nothing else he has adopted me into a family that I will have a long term friendship with.
Swamp People airs Thursdays on History.