Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

coplights.jpgLast Friday, I wrote a feature story for the Gazette’s “Out There” page about the many scenic and recreational attractions in and around Gauley Bridge, W.Va.

The story drew nine comments on the paper’s Web site — a lot for that sort of feature. Most of the comments criticized Gauley Bridge’s 25-mile-an-hour speed limit and the town’s cops for writing so many speeding tickets.

Exactly one day after my feature ran in the paper, I drove through Gauley Bridge on my way to an assignment at Carnifex Ferry State Park. You guessed it. I got the “blue-light special.” The officer cited me for doing 35 mph in the town’s 25-mph zone.

I’m pretty sure I exceeded the speed limit; I’d been trying to stay under 25 mph, but upshifted when my car’s engine started to bog down. I looked down and saw the speedometer needle creeping up toward 35, but couldn’t get off the gas in time. The blue lights started flashing, and I pulled over. The officer was pleasant, polite and professional.

Still, the $150 fine is going to sting a bit. Live and learn…

Florida declares war on python pests

python.jpegFaced with yet another problem created by an invasive species, Florida officials have decided to get aggressive with the state’s growing python problem.

An estimated 100,000 Burmese pythons now inhabit the Sunshine State’s south of Lake Okeechobee. The huge  snakes not only are taking a toll on native wildlife, they’re scaring the pants off tourists and locals.

But maybe not much longer. Gov. Charlie Crist has authorized a cadre of qualified volunteers to trap and kill as many pythons as they can.

The Miami Herald has the full story.

Why can’t we do this in West Virginia?

taxloot.jpgNext September in Louisiana, hunters and anglers will get to enjoy a three-day tax amnesty on hunting- and fishing-related items.

Gov. Bobby Jindal recently signed into law the bill that authorized the tax break. Under its provisions, the state’s 4 percent sales tax would be waived on firearms, ammunition, airboats, clothing, boots, knives and similar equipment.

Louisiana joins Georgia as states supporting a tax amnesty for outdoorsmen. And that begs a question: Why not a temporary tax amnesty for West Virginia, where the hunting rate per capita is one of the nation’s highest?

Hat tip: J.R. Absher at The Outdoor Pressroom.

It ain’t worth it, folks

gonefishin.jpgIt’s a fact of life. We go fishing once or twice too often, and our spouses get irked. But it’s nothing to make a federal case of, and it’s certainly not worth dealing with the way Ronald Ivan Carper Jr. of Alexandria, La., did.

In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?”

headstone.jpgHis name was Ronald Stephen Abell. He was a welder and an outoorsman. He was laid to rest under a totally cool headstone.

For a close-up view, check out The Washington Post: