John's Journal...

Hunting on Ellislie Plantation in Mississippi with Bad Boy Buggies

John’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.

Some of the pictures you’ll see this week on my website are of the buck I missed. Ellislie Plantation had taken pictures of that buck with a camera several weeks before the hunt.

I couldn’t believe I’d missed the deer. Well, that’s not totally true. When I saw the buck come out, I tried to set the back trigger on my pre-World War II, .30-06 Steyr-Mannlicher. I like this gun because I’ve hClick to enlargead it for many years. I’m comfortable shooting it, and I know I can drive tacks with it. I’m so accurate with the gun because of the trigger system. With the set trigger, all I have to do is pull the back trigger, which sets the front trigger and prepares the gun to shoot. I have the front trigger set so light that as soon as my finger touches the front trigger, the gun fires. So using this system, I don’t have time to flinch, which is why most deer hunters miss deer. However, with the set trigger, I also have the option of squeezing the front trigger like you normally will on most rifles to make them fire.

When the buck stepped into the shooting lane, I quickly got my scope on him. Because of the view of the deer in the scope, I quickly realized I had my scope on a lower power, which is normally where I keep it. This way, if a deer steps out close to my stand, I can see the entire deer in my riflescope. If the deer’s at a longer distance, I have time to turn the back of the scope to a higher power.

When I saw this buck in my scope and quickly realized the scope was set at 4X, which would mean I’d be taking a shot at 200 yards or more, I screwed the scope up to 8X as I watched the buck move closer to the sanctuary. I quickly picked up the buck with my scope, and as I did, I set the back trigger, even beforClick to enlargee I was solid and ready to shoot. However, the back trigger was the front trigger. So, instead of setting the front trigger as I normally would, I’d actually shot over the buck. I quickly bolted the rifle and jacked a second round into the chamber. To my amazement, the buck stepped back into the shooting lane just as I closed the bolt. This time, I looked at my triggers and made sure I had my index finger on the back trigger. When the crosshairs in the scope settled on the bucks shoulder, I touched the front trigger, the gun fired, and I expected the buck to be piled-up in a heap. But he wasn’t. He started walking toward us.  So, I bolted the gun the third time, and once again laid it across the shooting bar of my tree stand, made sure I had my finger on the second trigger and not the first trigger, got really comfortable for the shot, set my back trigger and put my full attention on the crosshairs overlaid on the buck’s shoulder.

Then I shot the third time, saw the buck seem to kick-up through my scope and hold out his left leg, which was the opposite leg from the right shoulder where I put the bullet. I watched the buck wheel and take off in the woods. I knew why I missed the first shot. I couldn’t believe I missed the second shot. There was no doubt in my mind that I’d made a perfect shot the third time I squeezed the trigger. The only thing that would have felt better after the shot was if the buck had flopped over where he stood. But he didn’t. I made sure I knew exactly where the buck was when I shot and exactly where the buck entered the woodClick to enlarges, knowing that would be the place I’d need to start looking for the blood trail. 

Jim Willard, the general manager of Bad Boy Buggies, said, “You got him on the third shot. I was watching him through binoculars, and you made a good hit on that third shot.” I agreed. We talked for a little while in the stand. I explained to Jim what happened on the first shot, couldn’t explain what happened on the second shot and told him I was as certain that the third shot was in the heart/lung area. So, he and I gave the deer about 10 or 20 minutes and then climbed out of our tree to find the buck. We planned to load him on the Bad Boy Buggy and take him back to camp. When we reached the spot where the buck had entered the woods, we couldn’t find a drop of blood. So, I walked over to the spot I’d carefully marked from my tree stand where the deer was standing when I fired the second shot, expecting to find at least hair, bone and meat, if not blood. But there was nothing there.

Jim had already started walking the trail we believed the deer had traveled after the shot, but he couldn’t find any blood or the buck. Jim came out of the woods and suggested we return to camp, wait on J.H. and some of his friends and co-workers, have dinner, and then return to find my buck. Because the buck was so big and fat, we assumed that maybe the deer was quartering to me a little bit and possibly the bullet had passed through the heart/lung area and traveled through the deer, lodging in one of the hams on the opposite side of the buck. If this were true, the entry wound could have been quickly plugged either by fat or stomach content and that could have explained why we hadn’t found any blood. We returned to camp, ate dinner and decided to search again after dark. 

For more information on Bad Boy Buggies, write Jim Willard at 104 Woodhaven Drive, Natchez, MS, 39120, or call him at (601) 807-9051, or email him at, or visit

Tomorrow: The Rapture?

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 4