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Old hunting clubs have fascinating histories

The other day, I received a letter from T.W. Pace of Amory, Miss. He sent along a booklet entitled Nettleton Foxhunting and Fishing Association: The First One Hundred Years 1904-2004 that was written by J. David Williams, the club's comptroller.

I found the booklet interesting because it introduced me to a club that I was not familiar with and do not have listed in my book The Golden Age of Hunting.

The club, located between Amory and Tupelo, borders the Tombigbee River and was organized when Theodore Roosevelt was president. The members have no knowledge of why the club was named for foxhunting, since, as far as they know, no foxhunting has ever occurred on their hunting grounds.

In his letter, Pace wrote, “The club is the second oldest incorporated hunting club in Mississippi.” This stirred my interest, so I pulled out my book and reread my chapter on hunting clubs.

After refreshing my memory, I believe this to be the second oldest continuous hunting club in Mississippi, but I need your help to be sure.

The oldest, I believe, is the Ozark Hunting and Fishing Club, organized in 1901. It is located 3 miles below the mouth of the Arkansas River on the Arkansas side because of a change in the river channel years ago; Ozark Island is a part of Bolivar County, Mississippi. Its charter members were from Nashville, Memphis, and Obion County, Tenn. One of its members, Benton McMillen, was governor of Tennessee.

The Beaver Dam and Ducking Club, established in 1882 near Tunica, was the oldest waterfowling club, and had been continuously in operation until about five years ago, when it turned into a commercial duck-hunting enterprise. Nash Buckingham considered it the premier duck-hunting club in America.

Another old club — I don't know if it is still operating or not — is the Gaillard Sporting Club, whose hunting ground was the Homochitto Valley of Adam and Wilkinson counties in Mississippi. It was organized in 1875. If it is still operating, it would be the oldest.

In what is considered the “Father of the Mississippi Delta hunting clubs,” the Merigold Hunting and Fishing Club was organized in 1919. Two years later, it was incorporated in Bolivar County, Miss., and is still in existence and striving.

Two old hunting clubs still in operation are the Ten Point Hunting Club and Buckhorn Hunting Club. In 1927, Paul Huffman secured leases on forested land from Anderson-Tully and the school boards of Issaquena and Warren counties, and on several hundred acres of Morrisey property. In 1940, the hunters split into two groups. The Vicksburg faction kept the western part of the territory and formed Buckhorn, while the other club became known as Ten Point.

The Swan Lake Hunting Club, located south of Greenville in Washington County, Miss., and established in 1893, was obtained by eminent domain by the United States government in 1962. The waterfowling club appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and lost.

The Tansy Island Hunting Club was established in the spring of 1904 on part of the old Rose Hill Plantation, 15 miles northwest of Woodville. It entertained several well-known sportsmen. The late Charles L. Jordan, who often wrote for sportsmen's magazines and whose wild turkey pictures were famous throughout the country, visited the club often.

On Palmyra Island, located 36 miles below Vicksburg, Miss., the Rosedale Outing Club established a hunting club on land previously owned by Joseph Davis, the eldest of a family of 10, of which Jefferson Davis was the youngest. I am not sure when this club organized, but I believe it was 1923 and that it ceased operation before 1932.

I find these old hunting clubs fascinating and would love to hear from readers if they have information about old hunting clubs and which club might be the oldest.

Wayne Capooth — outdoorsman, writer, and physician — has hunted extensively in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas for 50 years and has written four books. On the Internet, go to e-mail:

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