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Hunting for cures helps St. Jude's children

The other day I met some folks — Frank Cox, Larry Rea, Dr. Cliff Higgins, Dave Norval, Barney and Mike Davison — trying to do some good in this world by helping those less fortunate than us.

In the spring of 2004, a longtime dream came true for Barney and Mike, owners of Indian Creek Outfitters in Savannah, Tenn. They were able to combine their love for children with their love for the outdoors and one of America's favorite hunting traditions to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

Barney and Mike are father and son and have a huge heart for children, especially those who have been stricken with an illness.

They came up with the idea to use their beautiful land, nestled in the rolling hills of southwest Tennessee, to make dreams come true for many children. They made their vision a reality last spring by inviting 15 children during Tennessee's youth turkey hunt.

A $100 donation to St. Jude was all that was asked from the parents for each child to be taken on a guided hunt. Parents and others present went above and beyond in their generosity toward St. Jude that weekend. This one-day event raised $3,400.

This year's goal is $10,000 and will be a two-day event, March 25-26. Twenty children will hunt each day, with their parents donating a minimum of $100. However, they are asking participants to give as much as they can afford.

Expert turkey hunters and callers who are donating their time and expenses will guide the children. Many of these experts are coming from other states, just so they can participate in an event that has attracted national attention in such a short span of time. Each child will receive gifts donated by sporting goods companies, which will add up, most likely, to more than the $100 their parents have donated.

On March 25, from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., there will be an auction at the hunting lodge. Many companies and individuals have donated merchandise. Longtime outdoor writer for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Larry Rea will be the auctioneer.

Dr. Cliff Higgins, a dentist from Jonesboro, Ark., is in charge of fund-raising and has been busy as a bee out working the trails for dollars. He is as dedicated in this endeavor as he is in his practice. He often dons a clown outfit and goes over to St. Jude to entertain the kids.

Dave Norval, manager and chief guide of Indian Creek Outfitters, and Frank Cox (Memphis) were the ones who contacted me, and their enthusiasm for this event is overwhelming.

Frank Cox, one of the finest turkey call-makers in the country, put on the eBay auction block a Tom Turpin/Henry Davis style, wingbone trumpet caller that brought $2,010, with the proceeds donated to St. Jude. He is also one of the few Tennesseans who hunts turkeys with a dog that he has named Buster.

The countryside is beautiful with plenty of Eastern wild turkeys. The lodge, near Savannah, Tenn., and once a Confederate general's house that has been remodeled and redecorated, is near the Tennessee River, Pickwick Lake, and Shiloh National Military Park.

With all the activities, sponsors, and wonderful people involved, this year's hunt is certain to make lifelong memories for the children who are hunting and their parents. And most of all, hopefully, it will make longer, healthier lives possible for those children who are too ill to hunt with us.

Their goal is $10,000, and you can help by donating to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. On the memo line of your check write “Hunting for a Cure.” Mail the payment to Mike Davison, 13485 Clifton Rd., Savannah, TN 38372.

In addition, they would love to have you present for the auction, and if you have a child you would like to enter for 2007, you had better hurry because they already have 20 children signed up.

Wayne Capooth — outdoorsman, writer, and physician — has hunted extensively in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas for 50 years and has written four books. On the Internet, go to e-mail: [email protected]

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