John's Journal...

Hunting on Ellislie Plantation in Mississippi with Bad Boy Buggies

The Rapture?

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 NatchezClick to enlarge to find farm land. Ellislie Plantation is also used as a hunting operation.

After eating dinner that night, all the men in camp went back with me to try and retrieve my buck. We searched for 2 or 3 hours and combed every inch of the woodlot that the buck had gone into after the shot. We also worked the edge of the field on the other side of the woodlot, went out into the field and looked, and searched the edge of the field on the opposite side of the woodlot. We found no buck or blood. The next morning at daylight, Jim, J.H. and I resumed the search for 2-1/2- or 3 hours. We worked a grid pattern, covering every inch of ground we could and checking all the thick places a wounded buck may hide. But we still didn’t find the buck.  Finally I told J.H. and Jim, “I know what happened because this has happened before. The only logical conclusion for why we can’t find the buck I know I hit is at the very instant the bullet hit the buck, that buck was raptured into his heavenly body, never leaving a sign that he’d ever been where I shot him.” They both laughed, and although they both appeared to believe my story, I could tell they no more believed it than I did.

When I’d arrived at camp 2 days before, J.H. had asked if I wanted to sight-in my rifle. I told him that I didn’t need to because I’d sighted-it in just before I left home, and the gun was shooting dead-on 2-inches high at 100 yards, which meant I could aim dead-on out 200 to 250 yards or more. So, I didn’t sight-in my rifle at camp.

After failing to find my buck, before I left camp, I asked J.H. if he’d mind if I Click to enlargesighted-in my rifle, hoping my scope might be off, to prove I was a better shot than my shooting demonstration the day before had indicated. After shooting about six rounds, I quickly saw that my rifle was shooting high and at least 4 inches or more to the left at 100 yards, which meant that my bullet at 200 to 250 yards (the range at which I shot at my buck) was well off. I easily could have missed the deer, even though I was aiming dead on him. Apparently, my scope either had been bumped, my rings and bases weren’t tight or for some reason, my scope had become loose. Just to make sure, I asked J.H. to shoot my rifle off the same bench where I shot. His bullets hit in the center of mine and all three bullets could have been covered by a quartClick to enlargeer, except for two bullets that were completely off the paper. “You’ve got some real problems with your scope, John,” James explained. “You need to sight it in either here or when you get home. If you remember, I asked you if you wanted to sight-in your rifle whenyou arrived, and you said it was shooting dead-on.  It may very well have been when you left home, but bouncing around in the car, or being jostled when you arrived or while you were hunting, could have caused your scope to get out of alignment. That’s why you missed the deer.”

Sheepishly, I grinned and had to admit that I’d made a dumb, bonehead mistake that I’d made at least one and maybe two times in my hunting career and re-learned a very important lesson. Regardless of how well you think you can shoot, and even if you’ve sighted-in your rifle at home, you should always sight-in your rifle at camp before you go hunting. I didn’t, and I came home with a bad story and no buck. Don’t let this happen to you.

Great News: I got a call after I returned home from Jim Willard who told me they’d found the buck. He was the big 7 point that had been photographed by the motion-season camera earlier in the 2007 season and is in some of the photographs on the website this week. He had been hit in his left leg.

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

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 5