‘Swamp People’: How R.J. and Jay Paul Molinere Found Love of Alligator Hunting

by Courtney Blackann
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Hunting alligators is not a new tradition in the South. The animals thrive in swampy areas, moving through murky waters. While many people find their presence somewhat daunting, “Swamp People” stars R.J. and Jay Paul Molinere take pride in their family’s history of hunting the prehistoric beasts.

The two have been hunting alligators for a combined 50 years, according to an interview with Pow Wows. While the family tradition is some 600 years old, the practice was banned in Louisiana for several years. This was due in large part to their scarcity in the region. However, by the 1970s, hunting the animals was opened back up.

“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,” R.J. Molinere said in the interview.

Keeping Hunting In The Family

The tradition is also more than just about hunting for alligators. It’s a family tradition that has been handed down.

“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,” R..J. Molinere said.

Additionally, the hunter went on to say that the tradition is a way of life – and something he’s always known. The family takes pride in hunting the giant animals as a means of supporting themselves. They also trap, shrimp and crab.

Each season, the father-son duo work to make ends meet, while taking pride in their work.

“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,” R.J. Molinere said.

What Happens To The Alligators After The Show?

While the History Channel show follows the Molineres through their hunting adventures, it’s unclear what happens when the filming ends.

The alligator season is like anything else when it comes to hunting. There are limited days in the year to do it. In this case, there are 60 days open for hunting in Louisiana. However, the hunters must follow strict regulations and provide proper tagging of the animals.

Alligators used in the show are killed by hunters and sold. Additionally, all hunters must have proper licenses to kill the animals. Furthermore, the method of capturing and harvesting the animal is determined by certain regulations.

During the offseason, other animals like shrimp and crawfish are hunted to supplement their income.

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