A couple of weeks ago, I joined fellow podcast host, Matt Langford, on a deer hunting trip to his camp in the Mississippi Delta. The weather wasn’t great, but the opportunity to go to the delta wasn’t something I was going to pass up just because it was a little warm. The Mississippi Delta, for whatever reason, is one of my favorite places on Earth. To most, the scenery would be considered boring, but to me, it’s beautiful. And yes, it’s dirty and riddled with poverty, but something about it keeps drawing me back. You could say that it’s the hunting, but you’d be wrong. Although I love hunting in the delta, I could honestly just drive around looking at stuff all day.
I took off from Hattiesburg on Tuesday morning a little before noon. Once I was north of Jackson, my interest in the drive peaked tremendously. I exited off of I-55 toward Lexington into uncharted territory for me. Having never driven down this particular road, I soaked in all of the new sights. Soon, I made my descent from the hills of Lexington into the flatlands of Tchula and the Mississippi Delta. My heart rejoiced at the sight of cotton fields on both sides of the road. I felt so at home. It didn’t seem like very long before I had passed through Greenwood and turned onto what became a dirt road off of Highway 7. Goodson Road took a sharp ninety-degree angle and there it was: Float Road Hunting Club.
The Yalobusha River makes up the entire western border of the property. To the north is the Malmaison WMA, which amasses over ten thousand acres of public land hunting opportunity. The land in between is nothing short of spectacular. What began as 240 acres of club land grew into a hunting paradise of over 1000 acres. What once was catfish ponds make up the centerpiece of the property. The ponds, now grown up, are flood controlled with the waters of the Yalobusha to house a variety of species of waterfowl during the fall and winter months. These ponds are mostly grown up in Sage grasses and Willow trees and provide a nice refuge for migratory birds to take a break. Other parts of the property are grown up with CRP and large timber, perfect for deer habitat.
If you’re any sort of an outdoorsman, it doesn’t get much better than Float Road. When I made the trip up, we’d barely had any rain in months, but this property seemed to be a nice, little oasis in the middle of an otherwise parched land. When I pulled into the drive, I immediately noticed a pond on my right. Matt claims that it houses some really nice sized bass. There were fox squirrels seemingly everywhere. We even saw one that was entirely black, a rarity for sure. Matt had already killed one wild hog before I arrived and during the first evening’s sit, I heard the familiar squealing of quite a few more. During our stay, we saw turkeys, coyotes, and hundreds of Blue-Winged Teal. Wood ducks buzzed by just overhead of the tree line at the dawn and dusk moments, and the constant hooting of owls filled the night air.
The lodge itself is fantastic. There are nine shareholders of the camp, and the house is large enough to accommodate all, plus more. It has the rustic look that you’d expect from a delta camp with a porch that wraps around the entire front adorned with rocking chairs and wooden swings. There’s a pole barn next to the camp where each member stores their boats for duck hunting. Next to that is a shed that houses the members’ ATVs and UTVs. There’s a walk-in deer cooler and a skinning rack next to the pole barn.Inside the camp, the walls are lined with trophies of deer, elk, turkeys, and of course, ducks. Ducks hang down from the ceiling in the kitchen appearing to be in a landing pattern. The kitchen itself is something that would make the finest chef proud. Equipped with Viking appliances (a Mississippi company), it’s large enough to cook enough food for Patton’s Third Army. Satellite television provides the opportunity to kick back and watch football after the successful duck hunts that are soon to come.
Since I mentioned duck hunting, Float Road was home to some of the finest duck hunting in Mississippi, especially from around 1970 to 1990. It’s estimated that over 300 ducks a weekend could be killed during this period. Now, it’s estimated that there are around 500 or so ducks killed during the season at Float. Still not shabby by any standards. The camp also draws some interesting guests, aside from myself, like the late, Honorable Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court. A picture of Justice Scalia with a limit of ducks hangs proudly in the house along with other pictures of members and guests displaying their kills. The deer hunting might not be on the same level with some other delta properties, but it’s a far cry from the Piney Woods deer of South Mississippi. However, most of the members barely partake in deer hunting. They’d rather wake up, shoot ducks, then relax at the camp for an evening of football and stories. Matt estimates that there are 10-20 deer killed off of the property per year. But don’t let the lack of deer hunting fool you, this place holds deer well over the 130” range as evidenced by the bucks hanging on the walls that were killed on the property.
It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this place. The scenery, the sounds, and the smells of the delta made it hard to load up and go home. It was a trip where time seemed to zip by like a stock car on the track, or like those wood ducks above the trees. However, the quiet and peaceful mornings of watching the sun climb into the sky are about to end. Soon the air will be filled with greeting calls, feeding calls, and shotgun blasts. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and duck season is coming with it.