Editor’s Note: Ducks have come to Beaver Dam on a 1,500-acre oxbow lake, south of Memphis, Tennessee, near Dundee and Tunica, Mississippi, 38 miles from the Mississippi River for eons. But harvesting ducks isn’t the only reason hunters flock there. More importantly, a trip to Beaver Dam is a step back into waterfowling history that enables you to go home with memories that last forever. Today, a portion of this lake is privately owned by Mike and Lamar Boyd and surrounded by corn, soybean and rice fields that draw in ducks. It’s historically been a great place to catch crappie and bass too with its 1-1/4 miles of open lake surrounded by standing cypress trees and cypress swamps on both ends of the lake. (All Live Waterfowl Photos Courtesy of George Lee Photography)
“I’m not really a deer hunter,” says Lamar Boyd of Beaver Dam Duck Hunting Service, just outside of Tunica, Mississippi. “I hunt deer about 5 or 6 days a year because I’m usually guiding for ducks. Also, most days I have to pick-up my children after school, and I just don’t have time to go.” But the first day I hunted ducks with Lamar and his dad Mike, Lamar had seen a nice deer on the edge of one of their agricultural fields, coming out of the woods and chasing a doe. Lamar explains, “I had my son Forrest with me at the time, and the shot was going to be 500-600 yards, with only about 20 minutes before legal shooting time would be up. So, I chose not to take the shot.”
Then while we talked in the blind, I told Lamar that if he could go shoot that deer, then I’d have a nice sidebar for my story about duck hunting at Beaver Dam. So, the next day while Forrest was in school, Lamar hunted by himself. The big buck he’d seed in the late afternoon with several other bucks came out into a soybean field that had been harvested, though there were still plenty of beans on the ground.
“I waited a long time after I saw the buck come out into the bean field.” Lamar reports. “He stepped out just before dark and came out in the same spot that he had the previous day.” Lamar moved to within 200 yards before he was able to take the deer with his .308 rifle shooting 150 grain Nosler AccuBond bullets. Last season, Lamar took two nice bucks on two-consecutive days. The first buck was a 153-incher, and the second buck was a 16-incher. The 8-pointer he took the afternoon after our first morning of duck hunting scored 150-3/8 inches.
“I duck guide every day of duck season, and then life gets in the way.” Lamar Boyd says. “Once my wife gets home, there’s not much time in the day left to go deer hunting. I guess the reason I’ve been able to take these three deer in two years is because I’m blessed with a good place to hunt. We have a farm that’s connected to a lot of timberlands, and the timberland we use for duck hunting is around about 300 acres of water. We rarely if ever hunt these deer, so they don’t have much hunting pressure. Lots of highly-nutritious crop lands are right next to the area, so they just live on our farm.
“When I’m farming, I see deer regularly, but, again, I don’t get to hunt that often. This big 8-point I took, I saw the day before I took him. Since I knew he didn’t see or smell me, I thought I’d have a good chance of seeing him the following day. So, I went out after duck hunting in the afternoon. Then the two hours before I took this buck – the one that scored 150-3/8 – I actually saw three other bucks. But finally, the one I had spotted the day before appeared, and I took him. Most of the time, when I go deer hunting, I take my children. I have a 10-year-old daughter who killed her first deer in 2020, and she’d like to kill a buck this season. So, I’ll carry her until she has an opportunity to take a buck, but that means I rarely get to hunt by myself.
“I’ve grown-up deer hunting, and I really enjoy it. It’s my escape from hunting ducks every day of duck season. Some days I get to be alone and have a chance to collect my thoughts, and I use it as a time to decompress after hunting ducks all day every day. But I just don’t have a chance to go very often.”
To learn more, you can visit the Boyds’ website at https://www.beaverdamducks.com/; call Mike Boyd at 662-363-6288 or email him at [email protected]; or, call Lamar Boyd at 662-910-0102 or email him at [email protected].
For more information about John E. Phillips’ hunting books, visit www.amazon.com/author/johnephillips. To learn more about hunting deer, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions, at (http://amzn.to/YpoQHA). You may have to copy and paste this link into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read 10% of the book for free, and you can hear 10% for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book. Go to
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AN7GDW4/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i47 to learn about John and Denise Phillips’ cookbook, available in Kindle and print, “The Best Wild Game and Seafood Cookbook” that includes an entire chapter on bird recipes, including recipes for their favorite duck dishes.