3 Duck Hunters Dead Amid Alarms Over 'Cutthroat Culture'

David Vowell, 70, allegedly shot two fellow duck hunters in Tennessee. Now he's dead
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2021 8:00 AM CST
Duck Hunter, 70, Accused in Double Murder Found Dead
Handout   (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Two young hunters were killed in a Tennessee duck hunting mecca, allegedly by a 70-year-old fellow hunter who confronted them on a lake reportedly known for heated altercations over prime hunting spots. Now that suspect is dead, too, and while cops investigate three deaths at Reelfoot Lake State Park, at least one hunter is raising alarms over a 'cutthroat culture' in duck hunting that makes these tragedies all too unsurprising to some. Martin, Tenn., businessman David Vowell became a wanted man last week after cops say he shot Chance Black, 26, and Zachary Grooms, 25, after an argument Monday morning, per WPSD. Vowell fled the scene and was considered armed and dangerous. On Saturday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's manhunt ended after Vowell's body was found in a swamp not far from the scene of the murders, per ABC News.

While the cause of Vowell's death was not immediately released, contributor Will Brantley writes in Field & Stream that with the deaths of Black and Grooms comes "an assumption that it was an argument over duck hunting that became heated enough for someone to start shooting." While the lake is public land, most of the best hunting blinds are privately owned, having been grandfathered in via old deals that predate the formation of the lake itself. Combine that with the popularity of the lake for hunters, a yearly lottery that allots hunters what few public spots exist, and a rule stating hunters must remain 200 yards apart, and conditions are ripe for tempers to flare. "The bottom line is this," writes Brantley. "Two duck hunters were shot dead by another duck hunter on Monday morning. That we’re not surprised means we have a problem." (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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