Swamp People Jay Paul and R.J. Molinere Interview

By Paul G on March 6, 2012
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Powwows.com is honored to have the chance to sit down with two of the hunters from the hit show “Swamp People” on the History Channel. Here’s more about the Father-Son team, R.J and Jay Paul Molinere, who between them have over 50 years of experience of hunting one scariest killing machines in the whole World.

According to their website:

RJ Molinere is a Houma Native American. A strong competitor at whatever he does.

He is the best arm wrestler at 154 lbs. and the best alligator hunter at 154 lbs. He is a 4 time World Champion arm wrestler, 11 time National champion, 2 time Arnold Classic Armwrestling Champion, and 2 time GNC Champion.

He respects natures gifts and uses her resources properly. He was born and raised in a small Native American village with very strong ties to the land and water. He has lived most of his life off of the lands resources trapping, shrimping, crabbing, and alligator hunting.

He loves people and loves to talk. He is devoted to God and puts God before everything he does. He holds family dear to his heart.

He is a devoted husband, father, son, brother, grandfather and uncle to many special people.

Jay Paul is a 2 times Golden Gloves Boxing Champion, regional boxing champion, and undefeated MMA fighter. He loves to hunt, fish and just about any outdoor activities.

Below is our interview of RJ and Jay Paul.

Let’s start off with a little bit of Alligator Hunting history: – (RJ)
Years ago, in the late 1940s State of Louisiana shut down hunting of alligators because they had gotten so scarce. It reopened in the late 70’s because the Alligator population was getting out of hand.

 

Swamp PeopleHow did your family become involved with hunting gators? (RJ)
Jay and I are members of the United Houma Nation and years ago our people survived by living off the land which included hunting alligators. In our family it goes back maybe 600 years ago and was a tradition passed from generation to generation. When they opened seasonal hunting again in 1979 my Mother was the one that took me out and showed me how it was done. She had watched as a young girl and taught me well. Really it’s more than just a job, for us it’s always been a part of how we lived. It’s part of living off the land and in our area that is mostly swamp. That’s what surrounds you and anything you need is right there. What I learned from the generations before me, I passed onto Jay Paul starting when he was 3 years old. My wife was out there fishing with me for 30 years, also….so it’s definitely a family thing for us. And not just for Alligators, we are for shrimping, crabbing and trapping – earning a living from season to season.

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How involved is your family’s next generation with this tradition? (Jay Paul)
I have a son that is almost 3 and he and my niece are already involved. The kids like seeing what we come home with so at the end of the day they come out and see the days’ catch. As we show them we also tell them all the stuff that happened that day and by listening to our stories they learn it like they would any other tradition a family might have. Kids at that age soak up everything and that’s important because as the next generation, they are key to what we do. As soon as they are old enough to understand and are able to follow directions they are in the boat. The key to that is just for them to know when it’s time to sit down and listen.

What about leading up to that first day of the Alligator season, does your family have any traditions everyone takes part in? – (RJ) Yes, we do….and it’s possible this might be a part of this year’s show so I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but we do have a feast and there is a blessing of the boats.

Swamp People

Do people always want to know if you all have ever been hurt or injured? – (RJ)
Yes, we are asked that a lot and it’s mostly been some close calls, nicks and cuts. We respect the gator enough to know our limitations.

(To Jay Paul) You know what I respect? That serious looking gun you use, what kind is it?
It’s a 17 HMR made by Savage.
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So I might as well ask….what is the scariest thing that has happened? (Jay Paul)
Probably the scariest thing I remember was thinking….”how are we gonna get this 13 and a half foot alligator in this 12 foot boat.”

Besides work, what other kind of activities do you all like to do? – (Jay Paul)
My Dad is a 4 time World Champion Arm Wrestler and I am a 2 time Golden Glove Boxing Champion (State Champ and Gulf Coast Champ) (RJ) – Jay also has a 5-0 record as an MMA fighter.

How did being on “Swamp People” come about? – (RJ)
After the first season had been filmed the show was wanting to add someone of Native American heritage for Season 2. They were put in touch with me but while we talked they said they were looking for just 1 guy. I told them I had a partner and couldn’t do it without him, they were not sure it was gonna work but took footage of Jay Paul and I back with them to show to the producers, anyway. Then we got a call and they said they liked what they saw and wanted us for the show.

Swamp PeopleHow is life since you made your debut on Season 2? – (Jay Paul)
Anything you do you have the good and the bad, I love it though. Me and my Dad love to meet our fans. There’s a lot of good people out there, we get to hear stories from them and they want to hear stories from us. It goes both ways.

What about this year? When is it time to get out there and start hanging that gnarly bait in 2012? – (RJ)
The first Wednesday in September and for the following 30 days you got to look, smell and think like an alligator.

Do you have to hang that rotten chicken day after day? Surely, Gators would be interested in a nice greasy piece of Fry Bread? – (Jay Paul)
Alligators will eat anything, and everything. An alligator is a destroyer, he will eat it all….we have skinned an alligator open and found a license plate in his stomach.

You know as the show catches on more people are going think, “no problem!” What advice would you tell the average “Couch Hunter” wanting to roll the dice at doing what you do? (Jay Paul)
Not everyone can just go out and fish alligators. You have the right property, and the licenses. It’s real regulated and there is a lot of red tape, so you should know all the guide lines before you even think about baiting that first line.

Swamp People

Swamp People

Interview, photos, and video by Stacey Felix.


TOPICS: Blog, Featured, Native Profiles

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34 Responses to “Swamp People Jay Paul and R.J. Molinere Interview”

  1. Joyce L. White Dove says:

    wonderful Story;

    It is good to hear and see people passing on there heritage.

    Many Blessings and Thank you

  2. bearcat says:

    Nice interview. I’ve seen a few episodes and enjoyed every minute. Gator is delicious!

  3. Tsalagi_Phoenix says:

    Great interview.

  4. ok24stacey says:

    Did anyone watch the show last night? Did you hear him sing that Ponca song and say “Aho”? :)

  5. Kimberly McGhee says:

    My six year old son, and my 14 year old daughter are both Native Americans. They are members of the Poarch Creek Indians here in Atmore, Al. My daughter is very proud of her heritage and is involved in Pow-Wows. They love watching RJ and Jay Paul. My son is wanting a “swamp people” birthday party and says he is going to meet these guys.

  6. cheryl wiley says:

    first i would like to say god bless you r.j. & jay paul. my daughter, and i really enjoy watching father n son. the both of you have an energy that is un-match, we often pray for you two, as well as the others. my daughter loves anything that has to with native american. she paints , collects, and study on her own, concerning your culture. we both love your spirit’s as well. keep standing for your beliveths, and continue to keep GOD first, we pray your strength.

  7. di says:

    first, I want to highly praise RJ & J Paul for being on this show, they are my favorite team on the show. The love of GOD, family & living the natural way, plus the fact that they stand up for their Indian heritage is outstanding. I love to watch them doing “their thing”. I am part Native American also & I stand with pride beside my “swamp brothers”, besides, it’s time that the world learned the fact that alligater is good!, Creol & cajon cooking is outstanding & I love it, let’s hear it for R.J. & J. Paul!!
    1

  8. Big JP says:

    My family and I watch weekly and pray for the safety of the swamp people. I believe the examples of family values, living off and respecting the land and tradition that is shown in this show is something to be embraced and held onto dearly and passed on to future generations. Bless all the Swamp People and your families!

  9. Brent Varney says:

    I love watching Jay Paul and R.J. Molinere, the father and son bond they have. I hope me and my son always have that strong bond in life. Be safe out there.

  10. Antoinette Drummond says:

    I tune in week after week to watch RJ and J Paul out on the swamp. Your father-son bond is incredible and the respect you have for your Native heritage, the land, and eachother is amazing to see.

    Stay safe….God Bless!!!

  11. Person says:

    They don’t look very native to me, they look like whitey…..

    • Person 2 says:

      So, what’s yer race? If you claim to be whitey yerself, then take a DNA test. I’ll bet that you have something else in you besides “Caucasian,” brah.

  12. Bobby joe carlton says:

    Would love to come help one season! I live in Hawaii, I’m use to being on seals hunting wild cattle. Your job look like hard & fun life style. Vary interested! Please reply! Thank nothing but love!!!!

  13. sabrina vasquez says:

    Love thw show Rj. Your so damn good looking you will always in my dreams.Sabrina Vasquez Bks.ca.2-19-13

  14. Blackbird says:

    Why doesn’t the Federal Government or any Native American tribe give federal Rcognsion that these two wanna be native american’s? THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS NEVER GIVEN THEM LEGAL FEDERAL RECGNISHION NOR HAS ANY OTHER TRIBE IN AMERICA! REMEMBER THE OLD NATIVE AMERICAN IN THE 1970 STANDING BY THE ROAD AN A CAR WOULD GO BY AN TOSS OUT LITTER AN A TEAR WOULD COME FROM HIS EYE? = WELL HE WAS AN ITALIAN, AND THE GUY’S ARE OF FRENCH DECENT FROM NOVA SCOTIA!

  15. Reply to Blackbird says:

    Are you mad? What you’re saying is, because the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (a very corrupt bureau mind you) says they aren’t Native American, they aren’t? Aren’t you a little sheeple.

  16. troy corbin says:

    It would be nice to see your son fight we have a place for Emma in Lewiston me hope he would consider fighting and you could also go black bear hunting as well in the mountains take care and will be watching you guys

  17. Mike says:

    R.J. may God bless you and your family and keep you safe. Wish the show would do more of the personal lives of the swamp people and not just gator hunting. I would like to know more of the Homa tribe, and mostly there customs and belief. I really admire the cross you where and would like to know if it is tribal made and if it has special meaning. wish you could buy that in History stores.

  18. Ok24Stacey says:

    Just wanted to add a little reply to Blackbird….the Houma tribe might not be recognized by a bunch of politicians way across the Country, true. But if they aren’t ndns then why were tribal members not allowed to go to school with the white kids until a few decades ago? They were segregated to an “Indian” school. Seems kind of contradictory to me, but it wouldn’t be the first time our Gov’t made it up as they went along.

    I assure you they are not “wanna-bes.” They ARE their culture. They work hard, have committed to their family and being good men more than a lot I have seen out and about and have earned a lot of people’s respect. People that don’t give respect easily, either.

  19. montana_INDN76 says:

    I think it doesn’t matter that they don’t look like a western US Native American. There are many nations. I am proud of the representation these two guys from LOUISIANA give. Sounds like Jay Paul had gone through all the same all my friends and family went go through daily here in Montana. Even on our own reservation. More power to these men from the south!

  20. robert brown says:

    Love these guys because of their love for God and family.
    They seem so sincere about what they do and care for what they are taking from nature.They should prasied for their
    conduct as sportsman,of course being father and son,in
    a team Must be so wonderful to be a father and son like
    fhey are.GOD BLESS THESE MEN.To them this life as it
    should be and not a game.

  21. N says:

    I think what these Men are doing going Agents God s law;-( They won’t see life in there Children’s eyes !

  22. N says:

    They don’t care of pleaseing God ! They don’t care for the World. The Devil is telling them too do wrong.

  23. N says:

    If bad People do wrong they can’t Chang ! I can’t chang them no one can but Jeovah God can.

  24. CajunPatriot says:

    Wish RP and Jay Paul well. With all the media attention, they need to remember as all in that public eye need to, that even more so they are “encompassed about with a great multitude of witnesses.” Best to the Molinere’s keeping that in mind where ever they go. You guys are the best!

  25. Dawn says:

    Obviously u ppl who are not of Native American decent don’t recognize the traits of native Americans … I am Native American and I look at RJ and Jay Paul and can see the Native American in them not just by how they wear their hair or how they act but the physical characteristics etc …

  26. di says:

    They look just like me and I’m native American, from the sious tribe!!

  27. Cadstar says:

    Love these guys – only reason I watch the show is for this incredible father-son team. I too hope that my son (who is now 5) and I can maintain such a strong bond throughout our lives. Stay strong guys!
    Damn love that ponytail RJ! How do you get it soo damn tight and awesome loooking?? My hair is about 3/4 as long as yours and I want to replicate that tail!

  28. CajunPatriot says:

    We live near and have met RJ and J Paul several times. They are very gracious and kind and spend time with the people, sign autographs and speak about their work and lives. One month of the year, one month in early September to early October and that is it.

    Alligator is good, but I am partial to shrimp and crab, but alligator sauce piquant is a good dish over rice. Never overcook it or it is inedible!

  29. Patty says:

    I have one piece of advice for a couch alligator hunter, PLEASE get training with very heavy wet wiggly weights, or them there alligators are gonna enjoy lunch LOL

  30. james carbaugh says:

    Rj and Jaypaul, We are Indians too.but we are a different tribe. we know how it is to survive off the land. we’ve done it in Alaska.we love watching SWAMP PEOPLE! we ate gator for the fist time!right now we are in plaquemine la. and we went to check out bayou sorrel and pierre part. We love this area so much. we traveled all over the wprld for my medical.please we would love to meet all swamp people like you guys and troy jr and willie liz etc.

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