–A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS Mike Gray of Morgantown not only enjoys trapping, he does it for a living.  Mike runs his own professional animal control business.  He’s the guy to call when you have a critter causing problems around the house.   He’s West Virginia’s version of “The Turtle Man.

During a recent conversation on Ram Trucks West Virginia Outdoors I asked him about the wildest call he’s ever received.  Mike tells me he was once called to a gentleman’s club (we call them strip bars in my neck of the woods) where a couple of exotic snakes had escaped from the hired help.  It was an unusual conversation for Gray when his wife asked him about his day.   I wonder if they paid the bill in ones?

–TRAPPING REBOUND Gray said the popularity of trapping has increased considerably in the last five to ten years. He said the biggest boost to the activity has been coyotes. Coyotes are one of the hardest creatures in West Virginia to trap. Gray said they don’t stick around an area for long if there’s no food and when they leave they may not be back for months. He added they are the most wary animal when it comes to sniffing out a trap. In the old days those learning to trap would start with musk rats and work their way up the scale of difficulty, but today he said most start out on the top and work their way down. Gray added there has been a considerable increase in bobcat numbers in West Virginia. He doesn’t know what’s caused the sudden boost in cat numbers.

–“STINKING HIPPIES” The Corps of Engineers recently announced it would boost the number of days for the 2013 Gauley River rafting season as they drain Summersville Lake. They will also increase the rate of discharge to 5,000 cubic feet per second on three of those days. A wet summer and a need to lower the lake level further than usual to inspect the dam’s spillway tubes are credited for the increase.

Somebody posted this comment in response to the story here at the website.

    “I hate it when they kill Summersville Lake for the stinking hippies and their $$.”

First of all, the lake isn’t “killed”.  Draw downs have happened every single fall the lake has been in existence. Most of the Corps of Engineer lakes in West Virginia have a winter draw down. They empty the reservoir to make room for the spring melting of snow in our high mountains. The purpose of the lakes is flood control and storage of excess water. Fishing and boating activities are affected in the late fall and winter, but the lake will be back in the spring.

Since the lakes need to be drawn down anyway, the rafting industry and the Corps in one of the better examples of government/private sector cooperation have reached an agreement on the timing of the draw down so as to maximize the ability for whitewater outfitters to take guests on a unique adventure. Those unique adventures turn into millions of dollars in the West Virginia economy. The lake will be drained regardless, at least this way the opportunity is properly exploited for private sector gain.

–PACKING HEAT OUT OF STATE West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey tells me he gets more comments from people about reciprocity on concealed handgun permits than any other subject surrounding gun laws. Morrisey made it a priority to try and hammer out as many of those with other states as possible when he was elected. To date, 27 states have an agreement with West Virginia recognizing our concealed carry permit–and we recognize theirs.  Eight more states will allow you to carry on a West Virginia permit.

Morrisey admitted on Ram Trucks WV Outdoors getting agreements with a lot of states won’t be easy. New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC are tough because of what he described as a different culture with different attitudes about handguns.

Somebody told me the other day the state of Illinois won’t enter into reciprocity because of their “Chicago problem.”  I maintain if they would recognize concealed carry permits, there wouldn’t be a “Chicago problem.”

–BALL IN THE AIR Many of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter do so for a variety of reasons. I wear a lot of hats here at MetroNews and West Virginia Radio Corporation. I host the Morning News, and I produce and host Ram Trucks West Virginia Outdoors. We are about to gear up one of my favorite duties of the year. I’m part of the high school football broadcast team on our flagship station 58-WCHS in Charleston. So if you start seeing Tweets and Facebook posts about high school football, tune in and enjoy the Friday night lights.

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  • The dude who made comment

    Since when is the weekend after Labor Day late fall? There's a whole lot of winter snow melt in September isn't there? You know as well as the rest of us they can inspect those dams in the winter and give us at least two more months of boating if it weren't for the rafting dollar. You seem like a knowledgeable man but it's stupid to pretend that this isn't about money

  • 2XLPatriot

    It seems to me that 5,000 cubic feet of water per second would undoubtedly turn a "Stinking Hippie" into a "Well washed Hippie."

  • Wowbagger


    Some years ago I learned at a drought preparedness conference put on by the Corps is that the original reason for building and maintaining Summersville Dam was to maintain water quality in the Kanawha at Charleston during the low flow period in late summer and autumn.

    They weigh whitewater and recreational use of the lake equally, but both are less important than Charleston's water supply.

    • Chris Lawrence

      I'll take your word for that, since I have no knowledge. I've always been led to believe most of our major dams in the state were built with flood control in mind.

      I do know when there is a typical August and water starts to get low, they'll up the outflow at Summersville to augment the Kanawha just to keep the barges running. However, you are correct about a water sources for the city.

      No matter the discussion, water is a pretty precious commodity for a lot of things.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    As someone that spends a great deal of time in Maryland and DC, I don't know if allowing weapons would help their problem, but it would sure make the rest of us feel safer!

    • Chris Lawrence

      Sort of my point. Thanks for reading.