Have you hunted or thought about “hunting” at SAMSON’S WHITETAIL MOUNTAIN? I have and was highly suspicious in the aftermath. I have done some homework and made contact with other individuals, groups who have been lured in, and guides who worked to conceal the truth of the sham.
The following has been verified by numerous individuals. A dozen guys who worked there left for several reasons.
All people are duped in the sell of the “HUNT”. Jerry advertises or per your phone call that it’s a 3 day hunt. Meals, permits, and lodging included. One on one guide. The guide films your hunt. It’s a NO KILL NO PAY guaranteed hunt.
If asked the acreage, the big lie unfolds. He may say it’s 1000 acres or 500 acres. 300 acres is the truth, HOWEVER, this is not the killing area. As can be seen by this photo, the “lodge” which is Stafford’s residence, is located in the upper left corner. The property is square, with the exception of two houses in the south corners, and the ground is mostly open. A highway runs the south fence line.
The gate to enter is on the southwest corner. All “hunters” come in from I-24 and don’t continue on the highway. If they drove only 100 yards further, they would see the holding pens along the highway.
LIE #2. The 3 day hunt is a rarity. “Hunters” stay overnight. Depending on when the next people are due to arrive, you may get to go out twice to sit in a shooting hut. Oftentimes, the first time out is the last, UNLESS you have the money and want to shoot another.
Stafford likes to run as many people through as he can. They call it the revolving door or running them in through the chute of customers.
And the "guides" refer to themselves as BABYSITTERS. Who gets to babysit which hunter?
LIE #3. The deer are raised on the property. There are a few deer year round, but they are held in pens. The guides all verified that around 95% of the bucks are hauled in, some shot that day. Stafford shows pictures on a website of bucks that a person would assume to be at Samson’s Whitetail Mountain. They are still at the TAME DOMESTIC deer farms where he has purchased them. This minimizes the bucks dying at his place before they get shot.
Back to LIE #1. The guaranteed hunt is easily explained. The NO KILL NO PAY. The areas that “hunters” are taken to is a very small “kill pen”. These areas have fencing which is hidden with brush. A deer pusher is signalled to lay a gap gate out of sight. The guide drives his guest in and the pusher shuts the gap gate. The buck or a few bucks are already in the kill pen. A buck, which falls into the score range of what is paid for the “hunt”. The guide uses code words on radio chatter to the others. The pusher picks up on it and knows when to herd the buck toward the shooting hut.
If the buck drops dead from the shot, the guide finishes the video tape of the canned hunt with you showing off the rack. If the buck is hit and runs, the guide will “go to lunch” to let the buck lay. The truth is that the buck will run to the fence and die. Once the “hunter” is gone the pusher moves the dead buck away from the fence and then the guide will return and “track” the buck with the shooter.
Or, the shooter is distracted by the guide while the pusher drags the buck away from the fence.
If the shooter does not mortally wound the buck, Stafford will come in with a pistol to finish the job. He absolutely does not want anyone wondering around and seeing his deception.
Most shooting huts have a solid back and sides. Why? Because the small kill pen fence is right behind the shooting hut covered in cut brush and vines.
In the above photo, the perimeter fence is stretched along the right. Buck holding pens are lined up along it.
The open area is where the shooting hut is located.
The buck priced for the “hunt” in preloaded through alleyways and gates and turned out into the kill pen.
The most used shooting hut has been one they call “The Bear Pit”. It’s located in the northeast corner. It was used so often that the “hunters” began to notice all the video was the same. More small kill pens were built. As you can see from the photo, you can see that you’re in a real shoot ‘em in the corner experience.
This next photo at the top shows the proximity of “The Bear Pit” on the left to the neighbor’s house. Do you shoot a high power rifle? If you’ve been lied to as the 1000 acres, you probably assume to take a long distance shot. Not necessary in Stafford’s mini kill pens. But, if that’s what you bring, that’s what you use. In “The Bear Pit” and other shooting huts, the aim is toward houses and in some cases livestock. Who’s gonna be responsible for someone being shot? Only takes one time.
One of the reasons some of the guys who have worked there have quit is the fear of being shot. The guide is supposed to give a code word to the pusher to take cover. When the shooter misses the buck, the bullet screams through the trees. And what if the pusher’s radio fails? They said it got worse over time as Stafford made the kill pens even smaller.
If you miss the buck, which is very possible because most rifles have scopes and the buck is pretty much in your lap, you might think you’ve missed your chance on this 1000 acre area. Not so. The guide will make small talk. He’s been seeing a hot doe around and that buck won’t leave her and sure enough, before long the buck comes back.
The guides I talked to said it was hard explaining the sound of metal when the bucks in the holding pens hit the fence or the sound of a truck and trailer hauling deer in. They are told to say Stafford has some cattle close by. Using the guides for his lies.
This photo is of the northwest corner kill pen. You can see the mowed shooting fingers. Stafford’s house is just a short distance away, but the hunter is facing the opposite direction.
MORE HOLDING PENS ON THE EAST SIDE CONNECTED TO THE HIGHWAY PENS.
EAST PENS WITH A VISIBLE ALLEYWAY TO THE RIGHT OUT TO THE KILL PENS.
These are holding pens across an open field from the house. The land slopes down. This can be seen from the house if you know what you're looking for. If someone ask about the fencing and see some big bucks in there another lie is told. Those deer are breeding stock and the fawns are turned out to grow “on the 1000 acres”.
"GET THE HUNTERS. GET THEIR MONEY. GET THEM OUT AND GONE."
The southwest corner of the 300 acres is butted up on someone’s residence. In this kill area you’re gonna know it’s a canned hunt because the highway traffic, the corner fencing can be seen and the house is up the hill.
The guides told me that most of the group hunts are paid by big companies that bring employees. The bucks all score in the same range and price. For 7 hunters, 10 bucks may be preloaded in a bigger kill pen and the shooter picks out the one he wants since they all cost the same.
Had enough? What does that buck really score? Probably 10” less than what you get told. Pay for a 140” for the 150 price.
Figure on bringing back the meat? You’re not. Only the cape and antlers are yours. The lie that Stafford uses is that he feeds the bucks something not safe for human consumption. The deer that are “raised” there. As you know, now, the bucks are hauled in. The people that have worked there say the meat is safe. Stafford doesn't want the extra time and expense to fool with taking care of it. So what happens to the carcasses? The bodies are dumped in a deep pit. The guys who had worked said it got to bothering them as the amount of rotten bodies piled up. This photo is that pit. The black area and dots are buzzards.
You can save a lot of money avoiding the middle man. Deer are auctioned on line. Auctioned bucks go cheap rather than the price from an individual deer farmer. You can go to the place of your winning bid or have it delivered. Pretend you’re in a stand and shoot. That’s pretty much what you get at Samson’s Whitetail Mountain. Except there, you get to meet a guy that’s laughing, lying, and taking your money on tame bucks to shoot. Or, just contact an Amish deer farmer. They have racks for sale.
Talk about dirty dealing. If a buck dies in a holding pen, Stafford hauls it out in an open area with a shooting hut and props it up in some weeds with the head against a tree. He makes sure the dead buck is positioned where it’s not in the hunter’s view. Right at dark the guide cranks his head out to the side and sees the buck. “Hunter” shoots and guide says it ran and he didn’t get the shot on video. Guide decides the best thing is to let the buck lay for the night and track later because a pre-dead buck is a cold buck, not recently dead and hot. Putting the dead buck out in an open area is a safe bet because it's not going to run away.
I have been assured they are not making this up. Stafford knows which buffoon he can pull this off on.
Whitetail are not the only things in the canned hunt. Elk, rams, and fallow deer are for slaughter. These are available to shoot out of the yard, since they roam loose. I’ve been told the locals call it the zoo.
Now, for my story. My name is J.B. Thibodeau. I live in Louisiana. I met Jerry Stafford at a Texas Trophy Hunter’s show where he was targeting potential victims to his bogus fraudulent operation. He quoted his spiel and priced me a buck scoring over 160" for $5500. I looked up the website and it was $5500. I printed out the price page and booked a hunt with a deposit.
I touched base with Stafford on occasion that summer. He continued baiting me up for the “kill” and treated me like a pal. However, at one point Jerry told me that I was on the old pricing and another deer we talked about being 175” would cost me $7500.
I drove 10 hours and arrived to chaos. There were 13 other people there to hunt. No one looked to be in charge. There were two kids, who come to find out were the guides, and an elk was being chased by two guys in a side by side. “Hunting.”
A girl, who I thought might be Stafford’s daughter, ask my name. I told her and said I was booked to arrive that day. I had it documented by my deposit. She left, came back and apologized that Stafford hadn’t marked me down until the next day.
Later, from talking with all the people who have contributed to this, seems if things don’t go his way, you’re gonna get gone quick. And I was.
From talking to the people who had worked there, I wasn’t supposed to see the run and gun show of the elk “hunt” with the side by side. Stafford thought he had me showing up the next evening. That made him mad and he decided to have me kill out and get gone.
I had arrived late in the day and started getting a bit unsettled as the group of hunters were taken out and within two hours 7 bucks were hauled in.
The racks all looked like fake replicas. (I realize now that pen raised deer don't have wild deer colored horns and have weird features.)
The next morning I was taken out to what they call a shooting hut. It was an hour since the sun had come up. Which seemed strange not going out before daylight. I realize, later, with this info, which you now know, that I wasn’t hunting on 1000 acres and someone else probably had just vacated the stand
I shot the buck on one trip. 45 minutes. It was close enough I could have hit it with a rock. The guide had me jazzed up to shoot when he saw antlers. The guide had filmed the shot and it was a good hit, but the buck ran back into the brush. The guide said we’d wait a bit. He filmed what was called “filler” footage of me with him whispering that he’s been seeing a really big buck hanging around. In hindsight, he had turned the camera on, when he motioned me to get my gun ready.
I think what happened after my shot and the buck ran, I figure the pusher had to move the buck away from the fence so I wouldn’t know it was a small pen.
We got out of the shooting hut and I followed the guide and Ta Da there was my guaranteed buck. It had a strange look to it. Just another Freak deer raised in a pen and hauled in to the little kill pen. The guide positioned me with it for filming. He let me talk and he worked it with talking about how great it all was. He was gonna put it on the website or a facebook video.
I had brought a cooler for the meat, but knew from the night before that I wasn’t taking anything but antlers and a hide. I watched as they hung up the bucks, skinned them down to the skull and cut the heads off. The carcasses were put in a tractor loader and hauled off. Hauled where? It had to be close, because I smelled dead coming back from “my hunt”.
The next morning the other 6 of the group killed out. What was I to do for the rest of my 3 day guaranteed hunt? The guide suggested a ram hunt. ? I didn’t come to shoot a goat, which was some sort of cross bred farm ram. Besides, it was apparent that this operation was NOT what I had been lead to believe. There was no sense me hanging around and watch another drunken party with another group of hunters. I figured to settle up and drive the 10 hours back. I had booked for a 175” . Time to pay up. The girl, who wasn’t Stafford’s daughter (?), and a guide were the ones who were taking the money. Including my deposit the total was $9500. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I argued that was not what I had been priced. $7500 for a 175”. Where was Stafford? Nobody would say. He wouldn’t answer the phone and he was nowhere in sight. So, was he trying to swindle me out of $2000?
I have been on numerous guided hunts all over. Big name outfits with long standing reputations. This had turned out to be a fiasco. Where was the “legendary” Jerry Stafford?
I continued to argue about the agreed upon price. They just work there. I wound up paying $9500.
I was fuming all the way home and very dissatisfied with the whole mess. After my visit to Samson’s Whitetail Mountain I was embarrassed. I’d told a lot of guys about this great place I was going to. I posted my complete disappointment and I regretted the video footage I was fooled into bragging about the hunt. I posted my complete disappointment and in a review and called to have my video complement removed. It was not and my negative post was deleted.
It was a hard and expensive lesson. BUT, it rolled over into ridiculousness. I have my own construction company. A county deputy, Clay, who has known me since childhood, shows up with a summons. Small claim filed in Johnson county, Illinois. Samson’s Whitetail Mountain. Clay knew there was no way I would filch on any deal. So, I get another slap from Stafford. $2000 due.
I’m expected to drive 10 hours all the way to the county courthouse and show up in front of a judge. If I don’t go, I will lose by default AND unless I pay, a judgement will be on my record. What to do? I can’t be losing 2 to 3 days, fuel, and room for a asshole who is greedy. I had plenty of documentation in my favor. I printed out everything and had some text messages. I copied it all and mailed it to the courthouse.
I don’t need the stress this had been unnecessarily put upon me. What was Stafford’s argument to the judge? Stafford probably smiled when he saw that didn’t show. Little did he know I’d mailed in my info and the judge would have gone over it before the court date. The judge must have thought the situation was a bit sketchy because he ordered a bench trial. I was going and made plans for a flight in and out.
It was set for a Monday. The Friday before, Stafford’s lawyer calls and wants a continuance. I knew what the deal was. Stafford thought he could handle the small claim first court date. That didn’t pan out and he got scared I might show up AND the judge hadn’t sided with him on the first go round. At the last minute, he calls in a lawyer to bail him out of embarrassment and the lawyer needs the continuance of time for prep. I said no, I already booked a flight and a room. The lawyer TELLS ME that he told Stafford it would cost way more with his fee than the $2000 small claim. Six hours later I get a call from the courthouse that the case was dismissed.
I bet that Mr. Ego called in and said that I had paid off and it had been resolved.
So, call the legendary hunter Jerry Stafford. See how many lies will spill out of his mouth. I’ve got a feeling there will be a new set of lies to lure you into this fraudulent operation.
AND I had the buck I kill scored by two people at home. That 175" was a 160". BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!