Today, the outfitting business maintains an incredible reputation for being one of the premier places in the country to spend a few days in a duck blind, because of both how good the hunting is and the nostalgia of hunting hallowed water.
Nash Buckingham is a name any serious waterfowl hunter should recognize. An early conservationist and acclaimed outdoor writer, Buckingham hailed from Memphis, Tennessee, but it was the cypress filled waters of Beaver Dam Lake, just south of Tunica, Mississippi, where “Mr. Buck” left his greatest legacy.
Buckingham was a book author and an outdoor columnist. His collection of short stories, “De Shootinest Gent’man” is a treasured classic among proper sportsmen. He was considered a national authority on waterfowl and upland birds. He played a key role in the 1930s and 1940s in bringing about drastic change to conservation practices. Buckingham was friends with Ding Darling and helped build support for the first Duck Stamp. He and Darling shared another commonality. Both were involved in the formation of the Conservation Federation of Missouri in 1935, and both helped spearhead the ballot measure citizens overwhelmingly passed in 1936 to create the Conservation Commission.
When Buckingham was a boy, just before the turn of the century, his father was part of a duck club on Beaver Dam Lake. In those days, hunters would ride a train called the “Limb Dodger” south from Memphis down through Tunica to a stop right next to Beaver Dam Lake. This new accessibility by modern transportation began the era when Beaver Dam came to prominence as a waterfowl destination.
“The Northern Mississippi Delta wasn’t developed until the railroad was built in the late 1880s. The early hunters would catch a steamboat in Memphis and ride it down river to the town of Austin, which is just off the westside of the north end of Beaver Dam. They’d take a mule drawn wagon to a camp on the shore of the lake. Waterfowl was beyond plentiful,” said Mike Boyd, owner/operator of Beaver Dam Hunting Services.
Over the years, Buckingham’s fame grew and one noted part of his legacy was his fabled shotgun named, “Bo Whoop.” A Burt Becker HE Grade 12-gauge Super Fox, this incredible firearm paired with Buckingham’s shooting ability became legendary. Until 1948, when Bo Whoop was lost. Nash never saw it again. But miraculously, it turned in Georgia in 2006. Today it hangs in the Memphis headquarters of Ducks Unlimited.
“Nash wrote about Beaver Dam and that’s where it’s got it’s fame from,” Mike Boyd said. “Nash still has a following even though he’s been dead since the early seventies. People love to read his stories. He put Beaver Dam on the map for waterfowlers and that traditions carries on. We’re fortunate to have a portion of the lake.”
Beaver Dam is a private lake. Meaning you can’t go there to hunt without a private invitation or hiring an outfitter. Mike and Lamar Boyd operate Beaver Dam Hunting Services, which Mike founded when he started guiding on the lake 38 years ago. Today, the outfitting business maintains an incredible reputation for being one of the premier places in the country to spend a few days in a duck blind, because of both how good the hunting is and the nostalgia of hunting hallowed water.
“A lot of our clients over the years have been history buffs. They know about this area, because it’s been well-documented how good the waterfowl hunting is in this area. Now through websites, and social media and other technological advancements, word is out about this area. Word is out about this part of the world.” Lamar Boyd said.
On my trip with Beaver Dam Hunting Services, we stayed two nights in their lodge, which is a renovated home right on the lake. It’s very comfortable with all the amenities and décor one would expect from an upscale hunting outfitter. For food, we visited the historic Blue and White Restaurant in Tunica where Buckingham himself ate, along with most waterfowlers to visit the area since.
“When you couple the stories by and about Buckingham with the fact that dad’s been doing this now for nearly 40 years as a profession and I’m entering my twentieth year, we’ve been doing it awhile. We know what our clients expect and we work to provide ever aspect of a great experience. We’re fortunate to have return customers coming back year after year, and we enjoy meeting new clients, too,” Lamar Boyd said.
There are a few hunting spots left for this January at Beaver Dam Hunting Services. If you’re interested in hunting historic Beaver Dam Lake, contact Mike and Lamar Boyd through their website www.beaverdamducks.com or call them at 662-363-6288. And to stay up to date with their hunts, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
See you down the trail…
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