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East Tennessee Outdoors… A Year to Remember

BY DANNY BLEVINS

STAR CORRESPONDENT

As this year comes to a close, there are many of us that want to say goodbye and good riddance to the catastrophe that was the year 2020. It has been a rough year, but if we can hold out a few more days, we will have survived it.

Many changes came to the outdoor sports during this year. 2020 saw us coin new words like “new norm” and “Covid,” and we saw a pandemic hit our country that will leave a lasting impression on everyone who lived through it.

We saw outdoor sports cancelled and a new world record buck, a buck killed less than 100 miles from our home, officially named in the record books.

A tiger was spotted in a Knoxville suburb, and alligators came up the Mississippi River. We even learned the term “murder hornet” but never spotted one in the state of Tennessee.

A few earthquakes woke all of us up, and we were reminded that the largest earthquake in recorded American history occurred in Tennessee.

The year gave us our ups and downs, but we have survived.

Yes, 2020 is a year to forget, but let’s take a moment and relive some highlights, both good and bad, of the year that changed our nation.

January and February 2020

The year started normal enough. As the Tennessee deer season came to a close, the topic on many minds was the spread of Chronic Waste Disease (CWD) in west Tennessee deer herds.

New regulations needed to be put in place to slow down and eventually stop the spread of the disease.

Three counties in west Tennessee were told if they killed their limit of deer, they would get a bonus deer from the TWRA.

Before the year was over, the spread of the disease did not stop and even spread to neighboring counties. This helped the TWRA learn that they could not stop CWD, only slow it down.

February was cold and snowy, but some people managed to catch some large trout, bass and walleye on Watauga Lake using trout minnows.

Most people were making plans for the spring and summer months. We wanted to get out in the mountains and enjoy our lives, and we were all looking forward to the coming months.

We had a surprise waiting us.

March 2020

We watched as a new type of respiratory disease was spreading through western states. Some people were comparing this to the Great Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919.

Meanwhile, a new world record non-typical buck was certified and placed in the record books. The deer had been killed by Stephen Tucker from Sumner County, Tennessee, and had 47 non-typical points.

The record would not last long because of a buck killed by Luke Brewster from Virginia. He killed a buck that had 39 non-typical points that is being certified to be the new non-typical whitetail buck record in the Boone and Crockett record books.

It looks like it will shatter the old record.

As March 2020 came to an end, little did we know of what was going to happen in the future. Before the year came to a close, we would have to close the outdoors and live like hermits, afraid to even answer the door for the mailman.

The outdoors and our mountains were officially closed during part of 2020. We will discuss that and continue our look at the year of highlights and lowlights from 2020 in our next column.