“Cottonwood is a 10,000 acre farm – half surrounded by the majestic Mississippi River and half surrounded by the clover-covered levee,” farm manager, Jeffrey Taylor, tells us. The unique property spreads into Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. The Louisiana land was purchased back in 1973, with the Mississippi and Arkansas portions added in the mid 80’s. The Walker family decided to open it up as a commercial hunting operation in 2000.
An ideal destination for deer-only, bow-only hunting, Cottonwood’s lush land is covered in dewberry vines and green briars, which are great food sources for the wildlife. There are 7 lakes throughout the property and wild pecans and cottonwood trees are also abundant. “It’s a great piece of property, ideal for the wildlife that Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana have to offer,” Taylor explains.
Wild persimmon trees and honey locust savannas draw deer in droves. It’s not uncommon to see multiple shooter bucks each day of a typical three-day hunt. And with hundreds of fixed ladder and hang on tree-stands scattered in prime locations, visiting hunters are set up for success.
If the deer aren’t enough to keep you entertained, there are always turkey, ducks, geese, coyotes, and red and black squirrels to watch during your nature experience. “It is truly a hunter’s paradise in an exceptionally unique environment, “ Jeff Cook, avid hunter and frequent guest of Cottonwood, tells us.
The fertile soil also makes for an abundant farmland – with 1,000 acres devoted to growing soybeans and corn. A peach orchard and fig trees also flourish on the grounds and are used by the cooks of Cottonwood to make delicious homemade preserves.
“Being inside the levee and vulnerable to the Mississippi River is the magic of Cottonwood.” But there is a price to pay for such abundance. “It creates the most fertile growing conditions in the South, but we have to deal with floods every year,” owner, Will Walker, explains.
In May of 2011, the river flooded and the downstairs of the lodge held over 5 feet of water. After an extensive remodeling, the current lodge stands today at around 12,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms.
Cottonwood has even had some famous guests enjoy its splendor – Matthew McConaughey being one of them. McConaughey stars in the movie, Mud, which has scenes filmed at the property. Jeffrey Taylor tells us, “He is a true gentleman. He treated my staff and me with the most respect.” The movie is set to premier in April 2013.
Aside from it all, Will Walker discloses, “Cottonwood’s greatest attribute is its diversity. You see something new and unique every time you go. The Mississippi River ecosystem is still wild and untamed. There is very little constant at Cottonwood. We are always adapting, overcoming and improving, but that’s what makes it fun.”