America’s favorite crew of Louisiana gator baiters returns Monday, February 3 at 9/8c as History’s super-popular reality series Swamp People returns for a fifth season. Back on the bayou for another go around are swamp patriarch Troy Landry (and sons), Native American kit shickers RJ and Jay Paul Molinere, “Queen of the Swamp” Liz “Lizbet” Cavalier and Jessica, Junior and Willie, Bruce Mitchell and Terral Evans, who returns after being absent the past two seasons.
In addition to the familiar faces, fans of the show will also be introduced to “fierce Apache hunter Roger Rivers,” according to the official History press release announcing the new season. But that’s pretty much all we know about Roger, and the official History website has yet to update with a bio for him So, I’ve compiled what information can be had online to introduce fans to this larger-than-life figure!
Roger Rivers (above) was born and raised in Zwolle, Louisiana where he has spent a lifetime stalking the banks of Toledo Bend Lake hunting, fishing, and otherwise being a country boy.
Back in September, 2011 Roger Rivers made local headlines after he had a rather frightening encounter with a 12-foot, 7-inch alligator he hooked on Toledo Bend Lake. (The photo at the top of this post is the only one of the 12-foot gator from the story.) The water level of the lake was down dramatically, which limited the size of boats that could access the area of the lake Roger wanted to fish, which left him and two others in a 14-footer.
“We finally got to the spot where my lines were set and noticed both hooks were down,” Roger told The Beauregard Daily News in an interview. “And as we approached the first line I noticed there was a little slack in it and that the ground around it was torn up from a gator that was trying to get free.”
When Roger tested the line the huge gator “went berserk!”
“He attacked the boat from underneath and tore loose some of the riveting and put big dents in it,” Roger recalled. “He tried to turn us over, but Thank God he wasn’t able to do that.”
The gator wasn’t able to turn the boat over, but it was able to do the next worst thing — which was to knock Roger Rivers in the water! Roger went headfirst (with his gun!) into the drink, but was able to quickly get back in the boat before getting hurt by the panicked beast.
The gator continued to struggle and Roger, boots full of water, asked where his rifle was. After being informed that it had gone into the lake when he did, Roger retrieved a pistol and shot the gator once for each foot of length! That’s right, Roger shot it 12 times — obviously having a bit of an issue finding the mythical quarter-sized kill spot on the frantic gator.
“This whole episode went from a fun alligator hunt to a life and death situation,” Roger said of the experience. “But I absolutely loved it. Love the danger of it all.”
The 1,109-pound, 12-footer wasn’t even the largest gator caught by Roger, who tagged a 14-foot behemoth just a few years prior. Also, huge gators aren’t the only over-sized animals hunted by Roger Rivers. “I fish, I hunt gators and turtles, I hunt deer and hogs, you name it,” Roger told the Daily News. “It’s what I love and I will do it till I die.”
And when Roger mentions he hunts turtles, he’s obviously not talking box turtles and tortoises. Roger hunts logger-head (Alligator Snapping) turtles (below), which apparently have a season just like alligators because he does it every year between March and August.
According to Roger, he catches turtles every year that weigh between 100-150 pounds. (Hopefully we will get to see a little bit of his snapper turtle hunting skills on Season 5 of Swamp People!)
In addition to the turtles and gators, Roger knows how to bag some huge fish too. “I caught a catfish at Toledo Bend last year that weighed 75 pounds,” Roger said back in 2011.
Roger makes sure to emphasize the fact that he uses all the parts of the animals that he hunts. “I don’t do this for the money,” Roger said. “I don’t do it to make a living off the land. I do it to live off the land. It’s what I do and I love it!”
One person that doesn’t love it — anymore anyways — is Roger’s wife Rita Rivers. But, the couple have four daughters together and Roger reveals that two of them actually applied for tags to hunt gators with their dad, but they didn’t get them. Here is a family photo of Roger Rivers, his wife Rita Rivers and their four daughters from Facebook:
Although Rita is not a huge fan of the more dangerous hunts, she’s obviously gung-ho when it comes to “regular,” non-life-threatening hunting, as evidenced by photos like this one that is sure to make millions of manly men out there pretty damned jealous:
In the 2011 interview Roger revealed that he had previously tried to get on Swamp People, but didn’t make the cut. “Maybe next year,” Roger said at the time. “I think I’m a little bit of all of them rolled into one!”
Here are a couple Youtube clips of Roger Rivers: