Hunting on Ellislie Plantation in Mississippi with Bad Boy Buggies
The Deer You Can Expect to See at Ellislie Plantation
Editor’s Note: In December, 2007, I hunted with Bad Boy Buggies and the company’s founder, Jim Willard of Natchez, Mississippi. Hunters all across the United States use these electric buggies to go off-road and carry tree stands and hunters to their stands. Bad Boy Buggies are extremely quiet, have plenty of torque to power up hills and pull or tow equipment and can run for 20 to 22 miles on one overnight charge of its eight, 6-volt batteries. We hunted on land belonging to J.H. James, the operator of the 2,000-acre Ellislie Plantation, located about 10-miles south of Natchez, Mississippi, on the Homochitto River. His family owns over 3,000 acres in Mississippi and has owned this property for approximately 100 years. His great-great grandfather, George W. Armstrong, originally from Ft. Worth, Texas, was the first to settle here. He came to Natchez to find farm land. Ellislie Plantation is also used as a hunting operation.
Question: J.H., how are you managing this property to produce so many big deer?
James: We harvest as many does as possible off the property, and we try to take only 5-year-old or older bucks. We harvest as many management bucks, which we define as 5-1/2-years old with 8 points or less, as we can. I consider a trophy buck any buck that scores 130 or better on Boone & Crockett. We usually harvest from two to eight of these trophy bucks each year.
Question: How long have you been hunting this land, and why does it produce so many big deer?
James: I’ve been hunting the land about 17 years. We have a lot of agriculture, corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat for the deer to eat. Also, we’ve got the agriculture separated by large mature hardwoods, which are in the middle of the agriculture. We have hills that funnel the deer into this particular part of the property. So, we pull deer from many different areas of the property.
Question: What kinds of timber are in your bottomland hardwoods?
James: We have plenty of cottonwoods, water oaks, cherry bark oaks, cypress, green ash, sycamores and honey locust, which the deer especially love during the early season. In many areas, the honey locust is one of the deer’s preferred natural foods, especially during our early bow season. However, our deer have so many-different types of crops and so many acres to feed on that the honey locust isn’t nearly as important to the deer at Ellislie as a favored food as it is in many other places.
Question: How many people hunt this property at one time?
James: Never more than two. With the entire season, there won’t be more than 15 to 20 people who hunt our land. I prefer to have two hunters at a time. Then a guide and myself can take care of them, personally guide them and make sure they take a nice buck. We’ll usually harvest 70 to 80 deer per season off the property. Our buck to doe ratio is about two or three does per buck. We shoot about 15 management bucks each year. I’ve learned that just about the time you think you’ve got these bucks figured out, they’ll trick you.
For more information about hunting Ellislie Plantation, write J.H. James at P.O. Box 470338, Ft. Worth, TX, 71647, call him at (817) 271-2025 or email him at email@example.com. To learn more about Bad Boy Buggies, call (601) 807-9051, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.badboybuggies.com.
Tomorrow: Directing Deer Traffic Around Our Stand