January 31, 2014
By David Hunter Jones, OutdoorChannel.com
BURNT OAK LODGE, Miss. -- As deer hunters, most of us are guilty of being greedy whether we’ll admit it or not. We want as many opportunities as possible to kill the biggest bucks possible. The barometer of success for trophy hunters is heads on the wall: the more, the better.
For others, though, success may be defined by simply seeing deer, harvesting does, or any other sort of criteria. But for those who want ample shots at big bucks, there’s a place in Mississippi you need to know about: Burnt Oak Lodge.
Burnt Oak Lodge is run by Jack Robertson and his family. Robertson is a forester by trade and has a degree in wildlife ecology from Mississippi State University. The grounds of Burnt Oak Lodge in Lowndes County, Miss., are teeming with deer, turkey and quail thanks to his management regimen. (See story on his tried and true practices.
The deer hunting at Burnt Oak is on a first-come, first-served basis because of scheduling conflicts with quail season as well as sheer demand by deer hunters for time in Robertson’s stands.
Click image to see photos of Burnt Oak Lodge
On the property, Robertson has found that most 3 1/2 year-old deer gross in the 130-point range, while there are some residents that score greater than 150. The lodge is free range, but Robertson sees many of the same deer year after year thanks to his strict regimen of year-round planting, fertilizing, strip disking, burning and timber stand improvement.
Surrounding properties are a mix of agricultural, pasture and woods, so Burnt Oak has prime habitat within the fairly rural county. The grounds have a mix of hardwood stands, bottomland and lush green fields.
Robertson can tell you with alarming accuracy the whereabouts of trophy bucks on his property. There’s rarely a deer that gets captured on camera that he hasn’t seen grow and mature or on his meat pole. Depending on the goal of your hunt, he can let your youngster harvest a doe or small buck, or put you in a cedar thicket where a bruiser has been frequenting, rubbing up trees and scraping the ground bare.
As always, it’s up to the hunter to get the job done when the moment of truth arrives. He can even tell you the direction that they’ll likely come from, but he can’t pull the trigger for you. If he could’ve done it for me, I would have had him aim that .444 Marlin a tad higher so there’d be a picture of me with a beastly 8-point in the photo gallery.
As is the case in encounters with stud bucks, the experience was a memorable one. I can speak first-hand to Robertson’s charitable character; no shirttails were harmed after the shot was flubbed.
At the entrance of the property is the lodge itself, a structure half of which Robertson and his family call home, and the other half of which is luxury accommodations for guests. There are six rooms which house queen-size beds and bathrooms. Inside the main lodge is a dining hall, great room, bar/game room and a meeting room that’s equipped with all the technology you could need for a business retreat, which is something that Robertson hosts a lot.
“When we started the lodge, business retreats and meetings were part of the plans as were parties,” Robertson said. “What wasn’t expected though, were weddings. Those kind of came on later.”
Robertson treats his staff like family because they are his family. His wife, Dee, and mother, Mimi, handle booking and the lodge facilities while Jack, his father, and son, Morgan, tend to the property, dog training and hunting side of things.
To give you an idea of how pleased Burnt Oak’s guests leave, Robertson has enjoyed an 80 percent repeat business rate. If you’re at Burnt Oak and you go hungry, it’s your own fault. Three meals a day are provided with your accommodations and hunting, and each one is served with a heaping dose of Southern hospitality. If you go without harvesting a deer, it’s also your own fault. I should know.
There’s not another lodge within hundreds of miles that can offer the accommodations, chance at game and friendly atmosphere that Jack Robertson, his family and Burnt Oak offers. I’d stake another chance at that big 8 on it.
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