Monday, April 21, 2008

Did I say get out there and get hunting...

I tell you, the ones in my spots are starting to really get big. Its a good time to get out and hunt because they are easy to spot. If you are in Mid-MO with exception of those along the northern part, get out now. If they are not up in your normal spots look elsewhere because they are here and it is a very good year. In some spots (not my usual) they are everywhere. You just walk the woods and hope you hit a lucky strike.

I am helping a photojournalism student out with a project on morel hunting, so I took him out to the woods with me again today not really expecting to find too many, but just hoping to find a few so he could get some good footage. So, I went back to a spot that I had picked a few at over the weekend. While there on Saturday, the place was heavily hit. I saw no less than 15 pickups and met several groups of hunters in the woods.

Today there were only around ten pickups (a sure sign that a spot is hitting good) and so we headed into the woods. I quickly found a few I had missed around one tree. One was a nice long 5 inch yellow. He was hiding under a sycamore leaf which explains why I didn't see him before. The small ones also hang out under the leaves and then with a few days of warm weather grow extremely fast, giving the impression that they just pop up. After checking a few more spots I came across a patch of woods I had never bothered to hunt before but from the tracks and stumps it looked like many people had been through this weekend.

When I picked at my first tree, I noted how the stumps I left behind from Saturday had grown and colored with age. I now could use this info as I found stumps to determine that people had been picking from this area both Sunday, Saturday and even prior to that. I walked this 200 foot by 100 foot section and picked 35 that were missed. I am pretty sure that with so many hunters in the last few days that many morels can be missed. So I have to assume that these grew or popped to a more easier to spot size in the last 24 hours. Especially when it has been so warm.

In the end I found another 54 in about 2 hours including driving time, much better than I expected.

Back to temps, when it gets hot (above 80 and doesn't drop below 60 at night) it can often mark the end to the season as no new flushes will occur and all the ones that are up will get to their intended size and start to fall over and rot. That being said, this is usually because a lot of additional warm weather follows and we are forecasted to get back into the 60s the next few weeks. I think that if you are finding big yellows in a spot now, that spot will no longer flush this year, so pick them while you can. However, if you are only seeing small grays, like they are in the hills around here, the season could continue in these spots for a while. Of course this is all just guess work and theorizing. That's one of the things I love most about morel hunting, all of the speculation. What I reckon to a Midwestern modern day prospecting that takes no more than a tank of gas, a grocery sack, and a good pair of boots. Oh yeah, and if your like me you wouldn't go out in the woods without your lucky walking stick.

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