NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reported one boating-related fatality over the three-day 2020 Memorial Day holiday weekend and also made changes to turkey hunting regulations.
The Sunday morning, May 24 incident occurred below Fort Loudoun Dam on the Tennessee River.
Anglers Michael Hopkins (39) of Oliver Spring and David Morris of Clinton (50) were in a boat when the engine failed to start, and the boat was pulled into the spillway. Both men, who were wearing life jackets, went into the river at different times before the boat sank. Mr. Hopkins was rescued by bystanders and Mr. Morris did not survive. His body was later recovered less than a mile downstream by the Loudoun County dive team.
The incident was the first boating fatality in Tennessee on the Memorial Day holiday weekend in five years.
Statewide, there were four serious injury incidents and five others involving property damage. TWRA boating officers made 13 BUI (boating under the influence arrests).
The Memorial Day boating report was presented at the May meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
There was also a fatal accident on Monday.
A family outing on the Duck River in Bedford County turned to tragedy this afternoon when a 15-year-old girl drowned while kayaking with her parents.
A Manchester, TN couple and their daughter were kayaking a section of the river below Normandy Dam on Sunday morning. At Courtner’s Mill, an old low head dam, the three kayakers attempted to navigate an area where the river has cut a channel around the dam. The 15-year-old, who was wearing a lifejacket, capsized and was swept into a downed tree where she was pinned underwater. The couple attempted to free their daughter, but swift currents prevented any rescue.
The accident occurred around 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 31. The Bedford County Tech Team, Bedford County EMS, Bedford County Fire, Normandy Fire, Bedford County Sheriff Department and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded to the scene.
In other news, the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission has established the state’s 2020-21 and 2021-22 hunting and trapping regulations at its May meeting which concluded Friday. The commission and others also honored retiring Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Executive Director Ed Carter who is retiring after 48 years of service, including serving since 2009 in the top leadership position.
The commission sets the hunting and fishing regulations in two-year intervals. The approval of the seasons completes a lengthy process.
Among the new regulations were some changes to turkey hunting regulations. The statewide spring turkey season bag limit has been reduced from four to three and bonus turkeys on WMAs have been discontinued.
Bear hunting regulations included shifts in some hunt segments in Bear Hunt Zones 1, 2, and 3 to minimize conflicts with deer hunters, to hunt during times when the U.S. Forest Service roads on South Cherokee are open, and to allow rest periods prior to party-dog hunts. The total number of hunting days is not affected.
the TFWC funded the Asian Carp Incentive Program for 2020-21 at $1 million, including a new funding for industry grants.