John's Journal...

Hunting on Ellislie Plantation in Mississippi with Bad Boy Buggies

Jim Willard’s Story

Click to enlargeEditor’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.

The land in this area around Natchez, Mississippi, has skyrocketed because of the area’s fine deer herd.  James said, “My neighbor’s place once leased for $12 an acre, until about 2-years ago. Today, his land leases for $30 per acre.” Click to enlarge

On the following afternoon, Jim Willard, the general manager for Bad Boy Buggies, and I went to one of James’ sanctuary areas not far from the clubhouse. On one side of the sanctuary, there’s a mowed strip of open ground about 30-yards wide and about 300-yards long. On one side of the mowed ground is a dense, primarily a sweetgum thicket. Past the thicket, there’s a vetch field and behind that is a large standing cornfield. On the other side of the mowed lane, the sanctuary consists of a sweetgum thicket and an old hay field, which provides an ideal bedding area for the deer. Late in the afternoon, deer come from the bedding region and the cornfield to feed and then return to their bedding. This is the same section, on the edge of the sanctuary, where James took the 140-class buck, 2 days before we arrived. He told me and Jim that there were five or six more 6-year-old bucks crossing there. 

Jim Willard takes up the story. “John Phillips and I were sitting on a stand together when I spotted a doe coming out of the sweetgums, on the right side of the shooting lane, moving into the bedding area. I told John that I thought I saw another deer behind her. I had my binoculars up, and I could see that there was another deer standing behind a bush. I thought the deer was probably a yearling. When the deer stepped out, I saw that he was a mature buck. So, I told John to take him. I knew that the buck was probably an 8 point or better. He didn’t have really-long tines, but he had an extremely-wide rack. I saw John fumbling with Click to enlargehis riflescope, so I asked, ‘Are you okay? He’s a mature deer.’ John answered, ‘I’ve got him.’ John fired, and I knew he hadn’t hit the deer. The deer wheeled and returned to the spot where he’d entered the shooting lane. John bolted his gun and almost as quickly as he got his receiver closed, the buck appeared again in the shooting lane. John fired again, and the deer turned and came toward us, apparently unhit. John bolted his rifle again, and when the deer turned broadside again, John fired a third time. The deer kicked-up, wheeled and ran back into the bushes, but he was carrying his left leg stiff, which was on the offside of where John had shot. So, I thought the bullet probably had penetrated and hit the buck’s off-shoulder side.

“I couldn’t believe John had missed that deer the first time he shot at him. That deer was wide open and broadside. When the deer came out the second time, and I said, ‘Take him,’ John shot.  The deer just stood there for a minute.  That buck had no idea where that shot had come from.  Even when John bolted his rifle, that buck still didn’t seem to know where we were, because he came right toward us. So, by the way the deer acted on the third shot, I thought sure John had closed the deal. I actually thought I heard the deer fall, so I was confident we had our buck. I saw a deer after the shot in the woods, and I thought it might haClick to enlargeve been John’s buck.

“When we walked to the spot where we expected to find blood, I told John, ‘This isn’t good.’ There wasn’t a spot of blood where John had shot, where the deer had wheeled, or where the deer went into the woods. That shot was at least 200 yards, and it might have been a little further than that. When we couldn’t find any blood, I couldn’t understand why the deer was holding its leg like it was stiff. I was kinda laughing about the first two shots, but I was certain we had the deer on the third shot. Even when we didn’t find blood in the first 50 to 75 yards into the woods, I still expected to discover a deer. But we didn’t. I don’t know what happened, but we searched well after dark for about 2 or 3 hours with four or five more men helping us. We never found blood or a deer. I was certain John had missed the first two shots, but I believed he’d put a lethal shot on the buck with the third one.”   

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  To learn more about Bad Boy Buggies, call (601) 807-9051, email, or visit

Tomorrow: John’s Story

Check back each day this week for more about "Hunting on Ellislie Plantation in Mississippi with Bad Boy Buggies"

Day 1: The Deer You Can Expect to See at Ellislie Plantation
Day 2: Directing Deer Traffic Around Our Stand
Day 3: Jim Willard’s Story
Day 4: John’s Story
Day 5: The Rapture?


Entry 437, Day 3