Monday, April 05, 2010

It's Only Just Begun - Finding the First Morel

After hunting a few hours on Thursday and most of the day Friday and Saturday and finding nothing, it sure was a pleasant surprise to see this little guy today. I wasn't planning on doing any hunting this afternoon, in fact I probably should have been working, but the weather and photos from Camoshroomer had me ducking out early and heading down some familiar back roads.

I only picked this one little guy and not because he was of any size at just under two inches. Actually it is my tradition to always pick the first one I see no matter what size. I dry it and place it in a small jar that I will carry with me in my bag for good luck next year. I started this tradition about 6 years ago and have always found my first within the first week of April. Everyone has their own little morel hunting superstitions. I'll have to save that topic for another post, because I have some good stories about hunters only going counterclockwise around trees and some of the other quirky things we do.

They are very small and it will take a few days more for them to get big enough to spot easily. I left quite a few behind to grow in several spots. At least I think that will grow and probably fairly quickly at first, if the weather forecast holds. Lots of hot humid weather which in my experience really increases their growth. I expect there to be good pickings by the weekend.

If you can wait, then that is the time to start. If you are like me and you just have to get out there, keep a close eye out around suspect trees because there is a good chance there could be something there but very small.

What is it that makes finding that first morel such a special rite of spring each year? It is almost a magical experience as you glance a hint of that unique pitted-pattern that after only a few days of searching in vain, becomes ingrained in your brain. For me it is always the same. I spot it while scanning the ground as always, so my eyes have to backtrack and I literally do a double, triple or sometimes even a quadruple take. After that I simply staring at it for at least fifteen seconds asking myself is this real. With the realization comes the satisfaction of knowing that they are here, that the season is on. And that is really why finding that first one means so much. It is the anticipation of waiting all winter dreaming of morels. Heck, if you have never found one before, then you have been waiting you're whole life. The anticipation must be deafening. To finally see, hold, and smell that first morel. Quite honestly words cannot describe the feeling. It is truly something that MUST be experienced.


mikey said...

Hey alright good news I really enjoy this site I live in northern missouri so I would say I am another week or possibly two out Last year it seemed like it was alittle late It was almost May before anybody found anything around here but this year I believe it will be alittle earlier. Great find and good start. The first smell is always the greatest Happy Hunting and Good luck

ROCKHUNTER80 said...

going out today wish me luck

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. I started looking for morels late last season after a neighbor gave me some of his. I rummaged around my parents' acreage for a few days and found nothing. But then when I was about to give up completely, I found one nice-sized morel poking out at me. Can't wait to get out there this weekend to see if I can find more this year. I'm in Kansas City, so I'll report any finds.

Ang said...

great news. We knew it was soon! The hubby and I did a little scouting Easter Sunday..nothing in the early spots, but we had a really good feeling about this week.

ahistory said...

It is all in the smell isn't it, Mikey? Nothing quite like that first whiff. You do have to be careful though. Since I only picked one, I put it in my shirt pocket, which kept causing me to stop suddenly when I caught that all too familiar scent. I would look around only to realize I was smelling my pocket. Did this at least four times before put the morel somewhere else. :)

Anonymous said...

Went out today April 6th to several spots high and low in the mid Missouri area. I didn't see any sign of morels which was a little disturbing because one of the spots was my sure fire spot. This time last year I actually found some decent yellows in it so I was really confident I would at least spot a couple greys. I didn't find anything in my half-free spot either and they usually come out a little earlier than the yellows.

I am wondering if this crazy heat could have an adverse effect on our season? Looking forward to the weekend and putting some miles down on my shoe bottoms.