East Tennessee Outdoors… 2020 in Review Part 3
Published 12:34 am Friday, January 8, 2021
BY DANNY BLEVINS
2020 is over and we are counting down the highlights of a year none of us will forget. When the world was turning into chaos and a pandemic was raging, the outdoors was one of the few highlights for many of us.
Where else could you go and be completely socially distanced and protected from the problems of the world?
Now, let’s look at the outdoor events during 2020 from July to December.
July saw some hot weather that warmed up the local lakes. Daytime fishing success slowed down, and the best time to catch any fish from South Holston or Watauga lakes was during the night.
Night fishing was productive, but sometimes anglers had to fish later into the night to find the fish.
The hot weather continued, but it did not stop the TWRA from opening the first deer season of the year. The “velvet hunt” was conducted in August and allowed archery hunters to take a buck very early in the 2020 hunting season.
It was successful, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency plans to include this hunt in future deer management plans.
None of the bucks taken during this hunt were as big as the velvet buck taken in January by Logan Hanks. This deer scored 191 points and was a giant 13 pointer.
Hanks had truly killed a deer of a lifetime.
Finally, the TWRA allowed a Free Hunting Day in August. Anyone could hunt animals such as squirrels, groundhogs, and crows during this day without a license.
This has been a success for the last several years because it allows individuals the opportunity to try hunting before committing to buying a hunting license and taking a hunter safety course.
The TWRA feels that if individuals try hunting, they will get hooked on the sport.
Archery season officially opened during September, and TWRA reminded hunters of the new rules for the CWD counties. Chronic Wasting Disease has spread into several counties in the western part of the state.
New, more liberal seasons were given to the CWD counties, but they failed to slow down the disease. By the end of the year, CWD was still spreading, and it will keep spreading until hunters stop bringing in the non-meat body parts of deer from other states.
Also, during September, a tiger was spotted in Knoxville. After an extensive search was conducted in suburban Knoxville, the tiger was never found.
Some believe it was really a bobcat.
As deer season continued, the TWRA released boating accident totals for 2020. By the end of October, 24 people had been killed in boating accidents in Tennessee.
Some say this number has increased because more people are using the water than ever before. Some are contributing this to the use of small watercrafts such as kayaks and canoes.
Also, with Covid-19 shutting down our country, more and more people were enjoying the water than at any other time in American history.
Deer and black bear seasons were in full swing by November. Hunters had a very successful whitetail season, and it looks like the bear season will be close to the record year of 2019 when 759 bears were killed.
The TWRA has estimated that Tennessee still has a black bear population that exceeds 6000 bears, and black bears have been spotted in almost every county in the state.
Covid-19 made another surge, and Tennessee became the state with the most Covid-19 cases per population.
With the year coming to an end, most can say 2020 has been challenging in many ways, but it has been enjoyable from the vantage point of the outdoor experiences.
Finally, at this writing, the U.S. Congress passed another Covid-19 Relief Package that will give most of us an extra $600. I see a new gun in the future!
Have a safe week.