Just got back from a three-day whitetail gun hunt at Giles Island just across the Big Muddy from Natchez, Mississippi. Man, what a great place!
The deer herd is exceptionally good – racked bucks walking everywhere, many with limps and broken antlers due to fighting; the buck to doe ratio is at or slightly less than 1:1 according to the folks at Giles.
One is provided six hunts (one the afternoon of arrival, one each morning and afternoon of the next two days, and one the morning of the day of departure). The place obviously caters to bow hunters - there were bow-hunt-only areas, and Giles restricts gun hunting to a period shorter than the maximum allowed by state law, I believe only three weeks. Obviously, that is a plus for the relatively few gun hunters.
Deer with more than eight points must score 150 B&C to be taken as “trophies”. Eight points must be well outside the ears and have good mass to be taken as “management bucks”. Errors result in stiff fines, unless the hunter has received the okay to shoot from a guide.
Twelve hunters hunted the three days we were there. Two other hunters scored big, both with monstrous nine points. I know for a fact that others would have scored too had they not elected to pass on “management” bucks in hopes of larger animals.
Unfortunately, the back end of my shirt now hangs on the wall in the lodge there. A 135-point-class 8-point “management” buck presented itself almost cleanly at 65 yards, but I pulled the offhand shot low, grazing the back of his forelegs as he walked through the woods. Tracking showed the deer was not badly hurt; blood was found in the left front foot print, but the deer was still putting full weight on it. The rule, though, is that if one draws blood or hair, that’s his deer, whether it is recovered or not. Even saw the deer bedded awhile later, but due to our inability to see his lower extremities at distance, we were not safe in that assumption and therefore did not shoot again.
The guides – at least the one I had – work their butts off for us. My guide knew the entire 9,600 acres like the back of his hand, and had a great grasp of how the deer moved through it.
The camp is well laid out. Cabins have running water, electricity, and extremely comfortable king sized beds (at least ours did). The food was also excellent, and expectedly highly caloric.
On a non-hunting note, I did run into a snag with my transportation (Giles had nothing to do with this). Two of us have very small children at home, and our wives asked us to minimize the amount of time we’d be gone. In an effort to do that, we chartered a King Air to fly over to Natchez from Montgomery, Alabama. A friend of mine was to fly one of us back three nights later, and the other two of us the next afternoon, in a small, private, light plane. Unfortunately, the impending arrival of an ice storm required a change in return plans. Enterprise Rent-A-Car promised us a car, but then called back later and cancelled, saying that they no longer allowed one-way rentals, and that we could rent the car, but we’d have to bring it back! We didn’t get that message until well after business hours the night before our departure. (That left a mighty bad taste in my mouth, and I don’t plan on using Enterprise Rent-A-Car again!) We put our minds to the problem, and one of the guides came up with the only possibly solution. We returned to Montgomery the next morning in a U-Haul truck. I thought I’d given up that sort of thing in college! lol!
What a blast we did have.
"There are things that gnaw at a man worse than dyin'"
- Charles Travis Postelwaite, 1882