Giles Plantation crew assures hunters of a quality experience

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 5, 2001

Some of the best bucks in the state of Mississippi roam the 9,400 acres of Giles Island.

Hunters won’t just find the biggest bucks there, though. They’ll also find one of the best game management crews in the entire nation. And they know it.

The 10 workers at Giles Plantation (the company which owns Giles Island) keep up the island like it’s their own piece of property. The crew includes: Jim Jolman, Jay Lessley, Janice Davis, Stacey Love, Chris Strong Steven Bush, Chad Pugh, Collin Edwards, Will Cowan and Jimmy Rollins. They do everything from planting trees and vegetation to clearing roads to setting up deer stands to guiding hunts to cooking. All of the year-round hard work makes Giles Island one of the top hunting grounds in the United States and keeps hunters returning every year.

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&uot;They come here and don’t want to leave,&uot; said Janice Davis, cook and part-time hunter. &uot;They’ll say, ‘I’ll help you move deer stands in the summer.’ They want to be here. Just about all are like that.&uot;

Hunters love the place because they get a supurb hunting area with superb service. Chad Pugh, co-manager of the island, said he gets compliments all the time from visitors. One of Pugh’s jobs is to make sure the roads are in tip-top shape.

&uot;People comment on that,&uot; said Pugh. &uot;At times, you could drive a Cadillac on them.&uot;

Hunters also have a perks at Giles Plantation that some other hunting grounds don’t offer: guided hunts and hunts that are video-taped.

Jim Jolman and Will Cowan have done a slew of guided tours. Jolman said he has a better time doing that than hunting.

&uot;You get to be with them on their experience,&uot; said Jolman. &uot;It’s just amazing the feeling you get.&uot;

Another thing that attracts hunters is the quality deer. Giles Island is home to more than 1,400 deer, with many big bucks.

The sizable population and sizable bucks are a result of aggressive planting of food sources for the deer and strict limits on what deer can be shot.

For example, the minimum requirements for deer are: eight point with 16&uot; inside spread; 150 inches on the Boone & Crockett scoring system with a gun; and 130 inches with a bow.

Such requirements allow big buck to continue to grow and pass their genes onto successive generations.

Probably the last thing that new hunters think about before they step on the island is what they’ll be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. but the ones that have been there for a while know it’s some of the best food they’ll eat.

Davis cooks everything from prime rib to burgers to her famous jalapeno cheese grits.

But most of the work that make sthe hunters happy in the fall and winter takes place now.

&uot;There’s a lot of work that goes on in the offseason that increases the enjoyment of the island, as well as the quality of animals,&uot; said Jimmy Rollins, who co-manages the island with Pugh.

Speed Bancroft of Monroe, La., has owned the island since 1992.

Up until 1999, the area was private, in which only he, his family and his friends used the grounds for hunting deer, dove, ducks and turkey. But in 1999, he decided to allow commercial hunting on the island.

And hunters from everywhere took advantage.

Giles Plantation offers three-day hunts during the deer season, but it’s already booked for this season. Hunters usually reserved their days for next year before they leave the island.