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Return to Indian Creek always enchanting
Dec 27, 2012 12:00 am
Awhile back hunting buddies Barry and Brownie Stricklin and I made our annual pilgrimage to Indian Creek Outfitters down in Hardin County, operated by Barney Davidson and son Mike.
Deer were everywhere. Barry and I each harvested a couple of freezer does, which was what we were after. We saw several small bucks and got glimpses of some of the hat-rack trophies that roam the area.
But the lure of Indian Creek goes well beyond bringing home a trophy buck or a cooler-full of prime venison. It’s an area of enchantment.
On the banks of the nearby Tennessee River is the Shiloh National Battlefield, and a few miles downriver in Savannah sits the historical Cherry House. That’s where General Grant sat down to breakfast on the morning of April 6, 1862, when he heard the thunder of cannons 10 miles upriver. It signaled the start of the biggest, bloodiest battle ever waged on the continent up to that time.
The Civil War-era house that the Davidsons converted into a hunting lodge adds to the antebellum ambience, with its upstairs/downstairs stone fireplaces (replaced by modern gas heaters) and vaulted ceilings.
Some say the old house even has its resident ghost, a Civil War colonel whose spurs can be heard jingling as he clumps down the hallway late at night. I think I heard him making his midnight rounds late one evening -- but then again it could have been a squirrel in the attic or Barry looking for the bathroom.
On top of the hunting and the history is some excellent fishing in the Tennessee River. In the winter, armadas of boats drift in the looping river bends as anglers jig for sauger.
The Davidsons own a number of farms in the area and book deer and turkey hunts throughout the seasons. Rates are reasonable, and Mike can be contacted through his Hunting for a Cure website.
Hunting for a Cure is how I became acquainted with the Davidsons. Every spring for the past eight years they have hosted a youth turkey hunt to generate funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. All the work is done by unpaid volunteers and all the items for a related fund-raising auction are donated, which means that all proceeds – every cent -- go to the Children’s Hospital.
Barry Stricklin helped promote the event on an outdoors radio show he did at the time, and continues to volunteer as a guide during the two-day hunt. I was recruited to help with the print media and other messaging.
Every year the event grows bigger, attracting country music stars, outdoors celebrities and even a Titans cheerleader who grew up in the area.
Last year Hunting for a Cure generated $70,050, bringing the eight-year total donated to the Children’s Hospital to $532,800.
The event not only raises money for the hospital, it introduces youngsters to the joy of turkey hunting. It is designed for beginners. Each youngster and his or her parent or guardian is accompanied by a veteran guide who knows how to set up a blind and do the calling.
Preparations are already underway for next spring’s hunt, and information is available on the Hunting for a Cure website. It’s a good cause by good people.
Hunting, history and hospitality – Indian Creek has it all.