What happened to Ronnie Adams from “Swamp People”?

April 18, 2024
8 mins read

“Swamp People” is History Channel’s one-of-a-kind action reality TV series that features locals from the Atchafalaya River Basin in their day-to-day activities. Living in the biggest swamp and wetland in USA, Atchafalaya forces its human inhabitants to hunt with tooth and nail every week to survive, especially when one considers the fact that this place has a massive concentration of American alligators, who pose an extreme threat to all the communities enveloped by the bayou.

The show started in 2010, and has been progressing strongly ever since, with over 227 episodes and 13 seasons. Throughout its duration, it’s featured numerous residents from the area as individual cast members, having eventually expanded to cover homes even outside of the Atchafalaya Basin, including the swamplands of Texas, as well as other parts of Louisiana.

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While most of the show is centered around alligator hunting, there are also episodes featuring basic fishing and hunting for entirely different animals – a move that came naturally as the show became more about the swamp life itself than alligator hunting, although that’s still the main gig.

Most of the action in the show is filmed around the month of September each year, when alligator season opens up on its first Wednesday for the next 30 days. During this time, the locals, many from families that settled in the area centuries ago, follow the well-established alligator hunting tradition that provides most of their livelihood.

Of course, there are other factors to consider, which makes the 30-day activities much more complicated, and with that, the show much more interesting. These are mostly related to the ever-shifting bayou weather that can ruin sometimes up to a whole week of hunting, as well as rather strict hunting regulations in place to protect the alligator population from extinction, as their numbers have been dwindling steadily for many years.

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To ensure that there’s no cheating in the process, the state provides the hunters with a finite number of tags that they must put on alligator carcasses after hunting them down. With each kill having to sport a different tag, the state ensures that the hunters will end their spree once they ‘tag out,’ or run out of tags. Hence, each culling specialist tries their best to spend the tags before the season’s end, as alligator hunting becomes illegal the moment midnight ticks after the 30th day.

To make up for the lack of goods to sell, or even food, the show’s cast members engage in many other types of hunts, such as that for raccoons, crabs and turtles, while fishing for crawfish, shrimp and other types of swamp marine life isn’t uncommon either.

Enter Ronnie Adams and Ashley Jones

In late 2022, the series follows 16 individuals across the marshes, most of whom are from the Pierre Part Census Designated Place (CDP), Louisiana. There are, however, two particular hunters from Belle River also, which is considered a small unincorporated community of Louisiana, sitting on Avoca Island Cutoff’s eastern side, and Shell Beach Road’s far west side. The number of its residents is so insignificant that there isn’t even an estimated count.

This pair is known as Ronnie Adams and Ashley Jones. One thing to note about the show is that it’s important for there to always be an even number of cast members, since each one is supposed to have a hunting partner. This is exactly the case with Ronnie and Ashley, who are, very conveniently, the only two “Swamp People” hunters in their area.

Adams is described by History Channel as one of the bayou’s most prolific hunters, with unparalleled navigational skills even in the most remote parts of the surrounding swamp. In season 13 he had an additional challenge – get his tags all in despite the massive damage caused to the local area by Hurricane Ida.

Known to the worldwide audiences as ‘Deadeye,’ Ashley Jones is the one in charge of dispatching the alligators once they’re caught on the bait lines left out by the duo all across the swamp. Her job is absolutely crucial for the duo’s success, as a misplaced round can easily leave the alligator alive, and whoever’s in the boat in grave danger of losing a limb or even their very life.

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The intricacies of the hunt

Alligators are killed as soon as possible upon being reeled in, by a single shot through the brain from a very powerful rifle. This isn’t always an easy task even for the most experienced of shooters, as the wild predators tend to panic from being pulled in, often spiraling into a barrel roll to try and free themselves.

It is then Ronnie’s job to tire the alligator out so that the spinning stops, and Ashley can get a clear shot. Because their skin is so thick, an alligator would have to be fully riddled with bullets if shot at during the deadly spin, for its heart to finally stop beating. They are very durable hunters themselves, with unprecedented resilience. For these reasons, and to avoid spending too much ammunition, alligator hunters fire only a single shot most of the time.

There is also the aforementioned weather factor, since the swamp can become extremely hot during the noon sun, the heat of which causes dizziness, profuse sweating and even heatstroke. Ashley has to try and maintain absolute focus throughout hours of slowly navigating the swamp from one trap to the next.

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Facing the scorching waters

Thanks to her femininity and overall lighter build, she is able to take the heat much easier than, say, someone who is 6ft 5ins (195cms) tall, and weighs, say, 260lbs (118kgs). This someone happens to be exactly Ronnie Adams, who can’t help but find the searing sun unbearable throughout certain days on the hunt.

Such was the case in episode six of season 10, when the two had to run their lines as they normally tend to do. In the video uploaded to YouTube by History Channel, Ronnie can be witnessed at the end of his tether after only 12 of 40 lines run, and nine alligators on board.

Desperate, Ronnie says ‘Think it’s 97-98 degrees (36 Celsius), and that’s just the temperature, I don’t count the humidity. I mean it’s unreal.’ Ashley adds ‘Feels like there’s nowhere to hide from the heat,’ to which Ronnie responds ‘Can’t. Even the shade is hot.’

For the camera, he says ‘Big guys tend to dehydrate quicker than the small ones. I mean, we just sweat a lot, we lose all our fluids, and next thing you know, you start cramping up. We need to stay safe.’

With his face dripping as he bends over his knees in agony on the boat, Ronnie says to Ashley ‘Give me a second.’ His face is bright red, sweat covering all of his skin, as he huffs into his hand seeming on the edge of vomiting. It is apparent from this shot that Adams can’t afford to wrestle another ‘gator for Ashley to shoot, as standing in the heat and using his strength could prove fatal.

As for the cramping that accompanies severe dehydration, he said ‘I felt it coming in my quads and in my groin, I could feel the cramps. And I knew it was gonna keep coming, and they just kinda get worse and worse and worse. Before long, your whole body is totally locked up.’

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To remedy the issue, he looks at Ashley and says ‘We’re just gonna have to take breaks through it babe, I mean I just, I mean, we catch a ‘gator – take a break.’ While slowing the hunt down would definitely be beneficial to Ronnie’s physical health, the duo is on a tight schedule due to the hurricane delaying them in starting the season – Adams remains well aware of this too.

Ashley seemed to worry more about her partner, saying ‘Look, Ronnie, listen to me, listen to me, seriously, you can’t.’ Ronnie can’t be held back, however, and he replies ‘I gotta run these tags. I’m not missing out on these ‘gators. Whatever they got left on the lines, I need to run the lines. I gotta run these lines chief.’ Jones, still visibly worried about his health, huffs  ‘Oh my god.’

In the interview with History Channel’s filming crew, she says ‘Ronnie’s always a little hard-headed. It’s tough.’ Finally, she throws out the idea to Ronnie that maybe they should switch roles, as pulling a single trigger in the searing heat wouldn’t be nearly as taxing on a dehydrated body. She says ‘Why don’t you let me pull ‘em?’

Ronnie becomes confused momentarily, giving her a puzzled look and asking ‘You’re gonna run the lines?’ The hunting couple then reluctantly agree on the new strategy, and the hunt continues. Right before that, though, Ronnie makes sure that Ashley stays safe throughout the rest of the day.

He turns to her and says ‘Listen to me, when you’re runnin’ that line and you’re holdin’ it in your hand, if that ‘gator’s a big one and he pulls from you, I need you to let that rope go. Okay? If you do this for me, we can definitely knock ‘em out and get it over with.’

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Before even reaching grabbing distance of the very next line, they spot a caught alligator already rolling in the muddy water. Ashley has a worried look on her face, saying ‘Oh man. He felt us comin’. That’s a big one.’ Ronnie tells her ‘God. I can’t believe I put you on this ‘gator.’

She starts pulling the line as the alligator spins violently, yelling ‘Hammer down Ronnie, hammer down now! Get ‘im!’ However, Adams is unable to get a clean shot off, especially because he’s not normally the shooter. He says ‘I gotta just get the head out of the water, he’s in a roll.’ The pressure keeps mounting as Ashley says ‘I can’t hold onto him long now, pop ‘im!’

Trying his best to aim well, Ronnie gets closer to the water, and as the alligator rams the right side of the boat, it smashes the butt of the rifle, knocking it clean out of Ronnie’s hands. In this case, most hunters will either grab the spare rifle, or, if there is no spare, they would end the hunt and return with a new one.

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Ronnie, however, doesn’t really have that innate fear of alligators, having spent the entirety of his life around them. He looks at Ashley who is visibly shaken and asks ‘Do you see it?’ Ashley then shows exactly why she is paired up with someone as gutsy as Ronnie, saying ‘Hold on, let me hold onto him,’ allowing Adams to stick his arm into the water and take the rifle out.

He eventually succeeds, shooting the alligator through the skull at a perfect angle. Ashley then excitedly hauls the carcass onto the boat after a few unsuccessful attempts, brimming with pride due to her first ever line pull, while Ronnie rests to shake some more heat off. Iconic moments like these are what truly makes Adams and Jones stand out.

Dispelling the myth

While it’s easy to conclude that Ronnie and Ashley are married, or at least in a romantic relationship, this isn’t really the case. It doesn’t help that Ronnie’s go-to word in his everyday speech is ‘baby,’ which he calls Ashley all the time. That being said, neither Ashley’s nor Ronnie’s partners mind this habit.

Ashley is actually married to Chad Jones – an attorney employed in a law firm situated in Ridgeland, Mississippi. They have three children together, and a very happy marriage. Ronnie, on the other hand, is married as well, to Jen Smith, whom he began dating on 27 March 2019.

With no children of their own, they are still one big happy family of five, thanks to Ronnie having custody over Hannah, a daughter from his previous relationship, and Jen taking care of her two children as well, also from former romantic involvement. In late 2022, Ronnie is still just as busy as ever being with his family, and filming new episodes of “Swamp People.”

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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