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Swamp People exclusive: Ronnie Adams on the real meaning of ‘Che’, working with Ashley and more

Ronnie Adams is a gifted hunter and great addition to Swamp People's cat. Pic credit: History
Ronnie Adams is a gifted hunter and great addition to Swamp People’s cat. Pic credit: History

Anyone who watches Swamp People knows Ronnie Adams. The big man (he is 6’5″) is paired with the newbie, Ashley Dead Eye Jones, and the two tear up the bayou and swamp as she shoots (for the most part) and he holds the line.

Earlier in the season, his bicep tore in a painful injury and she had to sub in to hold a line with a live gator rolling in the drink — a scary moment as the beast below could weigh in at over 600 pounds.

The torque from that animal and its brute force pulling in the opposite direction could easily send someone over the side of a boat in a second. To Ashley’s credit, she managed the task and Ronnie was able to get to the hospital to get his arm taken care of.

Ronnie Adams is an affable native Louisianan who could serve as the poster boy for what people think a Cajun could or should be. He is full of charm, fast-talking, loud and pretty proud of his roots and his livelihood.

In fact, tonight’s episode has a hilarious line when he is having a fit in the boat over Mississippi’s insanely restrictive laws about hunting gators with Ashley.

The two have a bit of a shouting match after being shushed by Ashley because of how loud he is — and impatient to boot. He says about himself: “I’m a person of many noises.”

Baby, you got that right!

Indeed, Ronnie’s patented “baby baby” sexy talk charms the gators and the viewers who love his charisma and warmth. One of the past episodes had him cooking and serving up a huge meal for Ashley, her husband Chad, and their kids, along with Ronnie’s kin, after putting in a full day at the swamp office.

He’s a larger-than-life person who is a swamp entrepreneur, and his other business is hog hunting, which you can sign up for if you are ready to handle the adrenaline rush he promises in our exclusive interview.

Ronnie gave us the scoop on his partner in gator hunting crime, Ashley ‘Che’ Dead Eye Jones, and had nothing but high praise for fellow swamper Willie Edwards.

He even shared that his momma was a “beast”… read on:

Monsters and Critics: I have a theory. I think that the alligators get sweet-talked out of the swamp by you … They come up, they hear you with your ‘baby’ and say, who is this sweet talkin’ Cajun?

Ronnie Adams: They love me. They love me!

M&C: Yes, I believe it. Listen, I just talked to Ashley. She has nothing but high praise for you. So many fans that are new to this series are psyched. Even though it’s been on a while. And they feel like you two have energized the series…

Ronnie Adams: Oh well, you know when I got Ashley, she was green. I mean she’s caught big gators. But she’s only caught one or two. In the beginning, when she realized were gonna catch over 100 gators this pass-year, she was green to this kinda deal. But boy, she just went with it with stride. Picked it up and I tell you, she’s like my little sister. I love her to death and she will absolutely just get it done.

M&C: The episode that’s gonna air tonight, Thursday night. You guys have your first on-air fight. When you were in Mississippi and you were getting so frustrated with those Mississippi rules and the bugs and the flying Asian carps.

Ronnie Adams: Oh yeah. That was frustrating. Them fish, all popping and making you mad. I mean, they got all kinds of rules and regulations you can’t do over there. It’s totally different than Louisiana.

Yeah, we do have a little spiff, but I think it’s gonna turn out alright. And Ashley’s unbelievable. She flat out gets it done. She’s actually an unbelievable woman. It only lasted the little spiff, probably only for a few seconds and then after that, we kinda laughed it off.

M&C: People don’t realize how hard the work is that you guys do. Listen, I know that climate, it’s hot and there’s bugs and you’re in a metal boat, which just amplifies the heat. Are there any safety precautions that maybe the fans don’t realize that you guys have to consider when you’re out there? And you’re hunting things that are 5, 6, 700 lbs.

Ronnie Adams: Number one thing you gotta worry about — getting bit, you know? But, the mosquitoes and that … bugs to me, that’s not even a problem.

But one of the main things Ashley had problems with, was that raunchy bait we used. Oh my gosh, she hated it. The melt. That’s the bait we use. She’s not too keen to that couple day-old rotten stuff, you know.

M&C: Yeah, nobody is, really.

Ronnie Adams: Well, you get used to it after a while though, babe. You know?

M&C: What are some of the costs that people don’t realize of just getting your boat out to leave the dock? People just think that you jump in a boat, you go out it’s all fun. But, this is a business. Do you have to have special insurance, fees?

Ronnie Adams: Well, it’s pretty pricey now. I mean, for instance, off the jumps, whatever land owner’s got the gator tags, it’s 50/50. Sometimes it’s even 60/40. That the landowner gets like 60% and then the fisherman only get 40%.

But then on top of that, you know, you start your day off with fueling up. You know, breakfast and lunch. And then drinks for the day. Your starting out the day … You could be in the hole a couple hundred dollars. That’s before you make the first cent.

M&C: So the state regulations and the episode that’s on tonight, we learn that Mississippi is a different animal than Louisiana. And as we mentioned, it was much harder to get the gators. Yet the problems are the same. Gators are encroaching on human spaces. And at what point does Fish and Game listen to you guys and make it a little easier to do your jobs to pare down the gator population?

Ronnie Adams: I guess when they have their seminars and the fishermen go to talk. But it’s different. Like I said, it’s different from Louisiana than it is Mississippi. You know, you put in for a drawing system and you hope you get picked one tag.

Whereas it is here in Louisiana, fishermen’s got most … Most fishermen got 100, 200. But Mr. Troy Landry’s got 1,000 tags every year, you know? And it’s just totally different then it is in Mississippi. And I’m gonna be honest with ya, I don’t want to go back and fish gators in Mississippi ever again. [laughs]

M&C: I don’t blame you. That carp would’ve driven me crazy.

Ronnie Adams: Oh my gosh, the carp. I got hit so many times by them 40, 50-pound flying … I call them torpedoes and missiles They can literally hurt you bad.

M&C: And they’re not a good eating fish, either? Are they?

Ronnie Adams: I don’t know. I wouldn’t eat that. I eat a lot of stuff now. I’m gonna tell you like this, I eat almost anything possible. I wouldn’t eat that carp… Its eyes just look funny. I don’t want to touch that. Some people eat it though.

M&C: Yeah, I guess if you’re hungry, it’s a protein.

Ronnie Adams: You bet.

M&C: You grew up in Violet?

Ronnie Adams: Violet, Louisiana. Yes, ma’am. It’s in St. Bernard Parish. It’s actually in lower St. Bernard Parish.

M&C: I heard a rumor. That your momma hunts?

Ronnie Adams: My mother? Oh, my mom’s a beast. My mother is a beast! She’ll go by herself. I mean, she loves to get in the woods. I mean, just unreal that … My whole family though, but this is what we born into. This is what we are raised into.

And it’s our livelihood. It’s a way of life for us down here. It’s very rare that you’ll catch us going into a supermarket looking to get, for instance, meat and stuff when we got freezers full of it.

And that’s a lot of our livelihood, that we use to eat during … when it ain’t hunting season. I would say about 80% of our food comes out the swamp and out the marsh.

M&C: So I’m gonna ask you. Che, C-H-E. Where did that come from? What does it mean? And che lau? What is that?

Ronnie Adams: It’s just … Well, I had a guy by the name of Lau. We used to call him Che Lau. But Che is like… if I would say to one of my partners. ‘Hey, Bro?’ It’s just a way of speaking down towards my house in lower St Bernard’s ward…

It’s like, “Hey, Che, how you doin’ today, babe?” You know, and people want to misinterpret it the wrong way. It’s really just more like a ‘hey, how you doin’ lady’ or something like that. It’s just like a easy way of sayin, “Hey.” And it’s quick and easy to say, “che,” you know?

M&C: It’s like cajun amigo.

Ronnie Adams: Correct!

M&C: Got it. Talk to me about elite airboat hog hunting and I want to do this. So, tell me all about it and how you factor into that?

Ronnie Adams: Well, that’s my business that I do. I run down pigs in the marsh. I do charter hunts. I got airboats. I got two running right now. One’s down for repairs and that.

But we do charter pig hunts and they’re coming and book $1,000 a person to come in and get on an airboat and literally take them out and run down some pigs and shoot ’em out of the airboat.

And only reason being, is because a pig is a nuisance now. Nuisance animal in Louisiana and they are literally tearing up just fields and fields of our beautiful marsh that’s irreplaceable.

Once they tear it and root it up, it’s never coming back. And the wildlife and fishery want these things gone. Because they’re not native to Louisiana. Not native to a lot of states and over the years of people game hunting them, just transplanting from one area to another, the population exploded.

And it’s a way of making some good money and it’s fun. We have a blast. But, when you got 850 horsepower bearing down on a pig with the airboat, it’s unreal. It’s an adrenaline rush out this world.

M&C: Yeah, no. It totally looks it. And I’m surprised. Like I’ve seen the episode that’s going to air this Thursday of Swamp People and what I like about it, is it’s not gator-centric. The Edgars are shrimpin’. And Frenchie and Gee are froggin’. And the Molinere’s are bow huntin’ redfish.

Ronnie Adams: Oh, that’s nice.

M&C: And this is interesting. This makes the series much more interesting to me. And I know that they gave Troy Landry a spinoff show where he goes to Florida to hunt for crocodiles, another invasive species. Have you ever talked to producers about expanding the Swampers hunting other things?

Ronnie Adams: Well, you know, I talked to Mr. Catalina about … well, he’s mentioned something about maybe doing a … With that little spinoff with Mr. Troy that me and him maybe get together and do something.

But I’m open and I love working for History Channel. It’s an unbelievable experience that gave me an opportunity to share to the world what I get to live every day. And I’m up for anything. As long as it’s okay with the History Channel. They tell me what to do and I’m game to do it. I love my way of life. If they want to film me doing it, let’s do it.

M&C: Yeah. Hey now, we watch the series and we see you guys in the boats. And you’re a big man. But you’re fit. You know your center of gravity. It’s pretty amazing, the physics of when you see someone like Willie Edwards, who’s not a big man, pull up a 500 to 600 lb gator. Are there any stories about people that have actually fallen in or they’re center of balance was off when someone was on the line? And someone sucked in holding the gun or someone was trying to do both?

Ronnie Adams: Well I don’t know about getting sucked into the water. But you always can lose your balance and go overboard. Especially doing gators.

Hunting gators. Willie … Willie is a beast. When I tell you, that boy can flat out get it … To hunt by himself. Hey, my hat’s off to him. ‘Cause he is.. You just can’t explain how brave, not just brave.

But, you’re out there by yourself, doing this with them big monsters that he pulls in the boat. And he gets them in the boat by himself!  I mean, my hat’s off to Willie. I have the utmost respect for Willie, for what he does and he’s a great guy. An unbelievable man and I love being a part of the show with him.

About getting pulled in. I mean, anybody. I’m in situations where it was getting hunting season and it was cold and it wasn’t even gator season. And they had a line that never got picked up and the gator got caught under their armpit. And the gator was still alive and I pulled the thing, was freezing cold that morning.

And when I pulled the line in to see what was on it, ’cause I thought a beaver had hooked onto it and took it under. And then when I pulled it in, it was like this nine-foot big stacked female gator [on it]! And she made one lunge towards me and I slipped and lost my balance ’cause I had hip boots on.

It had literally lunged up at me and it was so cold, she wasn’t moving much. And that was the only momentum she had when she hit. Her head was like right in between my legs. And she slid right back into the water.

It was the craziest thing. Scared the living heck out of me. And then, my uncle at the time was the nuisance gator man and we wound up, the reason being there was nine foot one inches ’cause we went out and got it. ‘Cause it was hooked and it was gonna die.

And we didn’t want it to go to waste, so we called it in as a nuisance gator and called the Wildlife and Fishery. But she was a big one. She was about 600 pounds, nine foot, one inch. Big ‘ol mama. Almost grabbed hold to me, but I think with it being 30 degrees, that helped me out big time. That was in my favor.

M&C: Hey, when people are filming you and you’re out there and you got production crews, they actually have camera shots. Where it’s like the cameras coming up out of the water. And then they have camera shots, where they’re right up on you, when you guys are focused on trying to kill that gator. Has there ever been an instance when production got in the way or got tangled up in the adrenaline of the hunt?

Ronnie Adams: Well, you know, I wouldn’t say get in the way. Everything just happens so quick. You try to go through the motions and make sure everything’s perfect especially when you got filming crews and that. But if they get in the way, we just roll through it. And they gotta adjust to it and rock and roll.

Our camera guy this year was Brian and man, Brian is amazing. This guy is just totally … It just seemed like our camera guy, we were put with this year, he’s been in the game so long, he knew.

He just like knew our steps and what we were gonna do and before there could be an incident, he was out of the way. And I’ll tell you, that’s another one that the History Channel or Original, whoever put us with him, is just unbelievable and I’m sure there could be major mistakes with a camera guy or the sound person or anybody.

Even the boat driver, the trail boat driver could get in the way. But you just gotta go with it and push through it and hope it don’t get caught up in the shot.

M&C: Are you coming back for next seasons Swamp People? And are you gonna be paired with Ashley?

Ronnie Adams: I would love to. I don’t know. It’s whatever they want to do. I mean, I love Ashley. And I could fish with her every year. She’s amazing and she’s flat out gifted. I definitely want to come back to the Swamp People. I mean, it’s my family now and I love it. I mean, it’s just … If they want me back, I’m there.

Swamp People airs Thursdays on History.

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