Saturday, April 10, 2010

Breaking in a Rookie

For me one of my favorite things about morel hunting is getting new people hooked on the madness. Even if you don't eat the things, all it takes is a good day to get the morel adrenaline flowing and there is no going back.

So when Jon mentioned that someone who attended our mushroom class last fall was wanting to go hunting, I figured it wouldn't hurt. Now don't get me wrong, I won't take just anyone along on our morel hunts. I mean morel spots are sacred and I and many other morel hunters have been burned by "friends" who swear they will not return to your areas but find knew ones, only to be caught red handed in your prime hunting grounds next year. I mean c'mon if someone is nice enough to show you the ropes, please show respect. There are plenty of other woods out there and there is no need to cheat and literally bite the hand that fed you.

Because of the acts by these lowly few, a person must be well trusted by me before I'd consider letting them come along in spring. The rest of the year is another story because the competition is so low. I'd take anyone out and I don't care if you use my patches of say chants or others, because there are more than any one group can pick.

Anyway back off my soapbox, so we took Anthony out for his first hunt. It was a beautiful day and it was fun having a large hunting party compared to my usual lonesome self. The day flew by. Camoshroomer met us about mid-day and I'd say we all did pretty good. I am not sure on the final count for everyone else. I pulled in just over 120, bringing my two-day total to over 300. Anthony of course being newest found the fewest, but it was still a good two hands full. Regardless of the actual numbers, I think this picture says success better than any pile of morels on a table ever could.

Anthony with his first finds. (photos for this post by Jon Rapp)


Anthony said...

They were few but tasty! Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Yep, you never forget the first time :D

-- Feral Boy

Kristy said...

I'm in Liberty, MO Clay County are they out yet, and can you tell me the best days to go? Can you or do you know of any one in groups in this area that would like to go?

Michael said...

Just remember, everyone...mushrooms and other wild edibles are nature's gift and cannot and should not be controlled by any one person. Keeping spots secret is against nature's plan, so share with your fellow man!

There are always plenty to go around and most importantly, secrecy and the hiding of knowledge only leads to needless angst.

ahistory said...

Sharing knowledge is one thing and obviously, I am all for that. But everyone can find their own spots. That is the whole point about this blog.
This is not a place for shortcuts. If I wanted to show people where mushrooms are, I would open a mushroom guiding service.
Many hunters put in years of walking and exploring to locate their "spots." Stealing other hunters spots, when they are taking the time to show you the ropes, is not only disrespectful, but downright lazy. If you want to find, you need to put in the time.

Brian said...

There are NOT plenty to go around.
Everyone has equal opportunity if they desire to put for the effort. Morel hunting is a sport just like any other hunting. I do not feel in the least bit ashamed concealing spots I have "worked"
hard to find. I won't give up a deer stand area I scouted for weeks to a lazy person either, even if nature provides plenty of deer.

mikey said...

I agree There are spots I hunt that I dont tell even my closest family members When you spend 20 some years finding new spots it is nice to have some for yourself Still none up here in northern missouri but its getting real close Good Luck and happy hunting

Anonymous said...

Kristy --

Some people are finding them near K.C. Check warmer areas ... stream or river bottoms (on the banks generally, not down in the streambed), and the base of generally south-facing slopes, where water tends to flow to. It's been dry, so look for the water. Also check around particular types of trees ... dead elm, ash, cottonwood and / or maple in the bottoms, and BIG black oaks.

Good luck!
Feral Boy

ahistory said...

Thanks Feral Boy for sharing that knowledge.
Really mushroom hunting comes down to two things knowledge and experience. You can learn all you want from reading books, etc. but to find spots, you have to experience the hunt. There may be shortcuts to knowledge, but there are no shortcuts to experience. That is something you have to earn on your own.

Michael said...

Sorry, Brian...I have to disagree. When the conditions are right, nature provides plenty for everyone and it is very selfish to hoard them all if you are on public land. I have zero issues with sharing where I find mushrooms or mushrooms are known to be found to anyone that cares to know if it's on public land.

Now, if you own said land or have exclusive right to it, be my guest. I have private hunting land, so I do not worry about people intruding on my area.

It all boils down to the old adage that no one man can own a tree, the land or anything else that nature gives freely. In that vein, how can anyone "claim" anything in nature, especially in a setting that is open to all?

ahistory said...

Hey now, I am all for good debate and when it comes to mushrooms and especially morels there are plenty opinions to go around. Also, this is America so everyone is entitled to their own and free to express it on here in a civilized manner. However, there is no need for anyone to try and push their mushroom philosophies on anyone else. I try to make it clear in my posts that I am only expressing my opinions and these are by no means the way it is or should be.

So, please watch the tone of your comments and the choice of your words. I would be hesitant to accuse mushroom hunters of "hoarding" in any sense.

Many hunters really love morels and they love to hunt them. You cannot and should not assume that they are only picking and eating them all for themselves. In fact, most of the accomplished hunters with lots of morels spots that they have acquired through hard work, often give quite a few of their morels away to others who are not able to get out in the woods anymore.

Sure I may pick 5 to 6 pounds in a few days, but when you are feeding a family who loves morels or sharing them with old timers who can't get out in the woods anymore, that really doesn't go too far.

Unless you know someone is picking mushrooms and doing something like selling them to make a profit, I wouldn't accuse anyone of hoarding anything. The fact is like you said, no one owns public land it is for any and all. And there is another adage that the early bird gets the worm.

There are plenty of other spots for people to pick nature's precious bounty. You just have to find them, because I would reckon that like myself, most morel hunters fall on the other side of the fence and do NOT share Michael's sentiment of openly disclosing prime morel spots.

Michael said...

Well, I do apologize for the tone and less than proper choice of words. I know that people like you are not the ones that I tend to group together. As they say, a few bad apples can tarnish the bunch.