Buckmasters host hunt for children

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

with disabilities Jan. 9-11 at Sedgefield Place

By Griffin Pritchard

The Selma Times-Journal

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In the early 1990s, the Make-a-Wish Foundation stopped accepting deer hunts as grantable wishes from children with terminal illness or disabilities. Jackie Bushman, founder of Buckmasters, and his staff took up this cause and for the past 15 years have been offering Life Hunt Classics for children and a few adults with either terminal illnesses or who have been injured resulting in paralysis.

This year, the Life Hunt Classic will be held at Sedgefield Place near Safford, the host site for the event since its inception.

In some cases, a local Buckmasters chapter has provided the funds for the trip while others are able to attend because of a grant provided by Buckmasters Disabled Hunters Services, a function of Buckmasters American Deer Foundation.

The Sedgefield staff and guides volunteer their time and efforts to ensure that each participant enjoys the hunt of a lifetime and the chance at a trophy Alabama white-tailed deer. Buckmasters is proud to continue this January tradition in 2006.

The Hinton family that owns Sedgefield Place has been working with Buckmasters and has been preparing the area for the different needs of the hunters who will descend upon the area near the town of Safford.

This year’s event will be held on Jan. 9-11 with hunts beginning on the first day and having morning and afternoon sessions the next two days. The hunts are set up with ever hunter going into the woods with a guide from the area.

According to Bushman, the Hinton family has been preparing their facility and has been putting blinds into place for the hunters.

Bushman, who is the founder of Buckmasters said that his organization has done over 2000 hunts for disabled hunters and most recently have done at least 500 Life Hunts for terminally ill children.

When asked about their favorite memories both Bushman and Sullivan, they both pointed out last year’s hunt.

Sullivan also reminisced about a 14-year-old named Shawn who was born with no arms and legs but harvested his first deer at last year’s hunt.

According to Sullivan, they’ve also had hunters in wheelchairs participate in the event as well as hunters using a ventilator.

According to Sullivan, they’ve had hunters as young as six years and as old as 70 participate in the event and take their first deer. For a person to participate in the hunt, they fill out an application and send it in to participate in the hunt.

According to Bushman, Jeff Foxworthy and country-singer Rhett Akins will also be making an appearance at the event.

For more information on Life Hunts and the Buckmasters’ non-profit American Deer Federation, log onto their Web site www.badf.org.