Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hens have returned

After a very LONG and HOT DRY summer, fall is finally here and the hens have started to show on just a couple of trees.


I found these on Tuesday and only ended up picking the big one. It was about 4 pounds. Hopefully the rest will be a good size by the weekend.

Now that the woods are alive, I am hoping that the blog will come back to life too. So keep an eye out for more entries to come before the mushrooms return underground for winter.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Time for Trumpets

Morel season came and went fast this year. I am sure the early start caught quite a few people off guard, but I hope everyone was able to make it out and at least find a few.

As we move on to other mushrooms the early season continues. I was down at the Lake last Friday and had some extra time so I took a quick walk around a local state park down there. Mush to my surprise and delight, I found a nice mess of black trumpets. they were only showing up on the southern and eastern facing slopes, but as you can see there were quite a few in some places. 

I only picked the larger ones. There were lots of little ones I left behind but I still came out with about a pounds worth. Not bad considering I have never seen trumpets this early in May before. They usually don't show up until the last week of May or early June.

And trumpets weren't all that I found. I picked a couple of mature cibarius minor or small chanterelles. I also saw quite a few common yellow chanterelle buttons just starting out. With all the rain we got early this week, by next weekend at least the southern parts of Mid-MO should be ripe for the pickings. Be sure you don't miss out. And use bug spray when you go. The ticks are looking to be bad this summer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still Looking for Morels? Search Harder or Head North

Now I am not saying that the season is over here in Mid-MO. The cooler temps and rain are sure to keep some morels alive and growing. However, that week of 80 degree plus weather at the end of March darn near got everything to flush (even the northern slopes and darker areas) and made the ones that were already up grow so big that man y have began to rot.

And it isn't just my gut telling me this, I know a hunter from the northern edges of Mid-MO who picked over 30 pounds starting on Friday and over the weekend, but even he said that by Sunday he was only able to pick about one out of every three he found because most were so far gone. So, to hit the motherlode or to find a nice batch of fresh greys, you will need to head north a bit more, maybe even beyond the state borders.

That's what Shroom King and I did at the end of last week and let me tell you the many hours spent in the car turned out to be well worth it. But I'll let you decide. Here are some videos highlighting a few nice finds in the two days. These weren't picked north of the state line, but pretty darn close to it.

I came upon this spot only ten minutes into the woods and knew it would be a good trip.

Several trees were hitting well. It was just a matter of finding them among the wooded slopes.

Many parts of the area had been cleared by controlled burning the previous year. These made for easy spotting and also contributed to trees dying (mainly small ones whose lower trunks succumbed to the flames) but no matter how small they still produced.

By Friday people were starting to really hit the woods so I spent less time taking footage so i could focus on finding the morels before the weekenders hit the woods.

The mushrooms in the area were unusually picturesque.

I even saw a few half frees. They seemed to come more on the second day after some rain had fallen.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Bad Day Morel Hunting is Better Than a Good Day in the Office...But a Good Day in the Woods Takes the Cake

Teamed up with Shroom King a Mid-MO hunter I have hunted with for a couple of years now. Good old guy as most mushroom hunters are if you get to know them.
We hit it hard and covered a lot of miles. Most places were spotty but every now and then we would get into some good overlooked places.

Not a lot of time to write must soak aching muscles and tired feet. So here are some more videos and photos to help keep your morel needs at bay.

Here is a close up of the final haul. We found some big ones today as you will see.


The elusive Shroom King posing in a better shot of just over 15 pounds because they were fat and meaty and I mean the mushrooms, not my hunting buddy.

Sometimes we had to sneak up on them.

Other times they jumped out right in front of us.

But they were usually out with a bunch of friends.

All let these photos from the last few days speak for themselves.

I highly recommend getting out and enjoying this great weather. Maybe you'll get lucky like us.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too Busy Picking to Post

If I am not working, then I am in the woods, so don't expect posts every day like in the past. The morels came early this year and it messed up my plans, as I try to focus my work in late March to get done with projects. That way I can take time off to hunt in April. Now trying to hunt and get all of those projects complete is not allowing me to post as often as i wish I could.

The morels are definitely up across Missouri and I have gotten reports from several of you. I really appreciate hearing about the excitement of a good morel hunt or find, so please keep them coming. Here are a few from the last last week:
  • Snuffdiper hauled in a nice mess of yellows in Mid-MO.
  • Jenny from Northern Boone county who had very little luck finding morels in her usual places last year found her first on March 25, which she noted was about three weeks earlier than normal on her farm.
  • David from near Ozark reported finding 12 greys on the 23rd.
Since I don't have a lot of time to write, picture speak a thousand words. Here are a variety of videos and photos from the last week of hunting. It is turning out to be a good year.

When you find them they seem to be hanging out in nice groups.

Another nice grouping.

A couple of smaller greys hiding out in the grass and leaves.

This is what will happen to those greys if you let them grow a few days. They will turn into nice yellows. That is if you can leave them alone without fear of someone else grabbing them.

And finally look everywhere. These beauties were growing right out of the bank for all to see.

Here is a nice patch I was lucky enough to stumble across.

And another. It has been one of those seasons. They aren't everywhere YET, so you have to walk a bit to find them, but when you do, you usually find quite a few.

Keep on looking and if you haven't found any yet, don't get discouraged. Some areas are just starting to come to life.

Here is the final money shot. This was just what I was able to get last Saturday.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Rainy Days Bring on Small Grays

We have been lucky to have some cloudy rainy days just as temps went up in the mid-80s. Yesterday's rainy day really got things started. Things are still small and it looks like temps are going to cool down and be more moderate along with even more rain. This is only a good sign of things to come.

Now don't get all excited, you are not going to pick a bag yet. I covered most of these up and left them to get bigger. Next weekend should be the perfect time to start looking and bringing back sackfuls. I think it is going to be a good year here in Mid-MO.

Here is the date shot for all you Show-Me people. Sorry I forgot to get a paper while I was at Hy-Vee. I was lost getting cream and thinking of the venison loin topped with morel cream sauce. I assure you we picked these today.

Now the ones in the photo below that Camo was so gracious enough to fry me up along with some catfish were from GA. Thanks Camo for the fine meal. That made a perfect end to a lot of walking.

Here is a video of the first finds of the day. Always nice to start the day finding a patch like this. We looked around and didn't see much so we went to check another area

Here is the prettiest cluster of little greys I have ever had to cover. Will be back for them later.

Here is a video of some of the biggest (2 1/2 inchers) that we saw.

This is only the beginning. This time next week it will be on.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Early Spring Scouting: Some Tips and Benefits

Yes, I know. A lot of you might think I am crazy going out in the middle of March looking for morels. But that was actually the last of my intentions today. There are many good reasons to get out right now and stretch your legs and look around the woods. As long as your goal isn't to find morels, you will not be disappointed. And if you do happen upon a small patch of early morels, well that is just a bonus.

For example, today I had several goals I wanted to accomplish by my scouting.

  1. I wanted to get out of the office and stretch my legs. With temps above 80 and finishing up some pressing deadlines, it is hard to stay in front of a computer while the trees leaf out and the early dogwoods begin to bloom. Scouting an area is not only a good way to get to know the terrain and but also a good way to train your legs. It is just great rejuvenating exercise. Now when my legs start screaming from the lactic acid build up in my leg muscles from being out of shape, that is another matter. At least mine need a little breaking in.

  2. To find morels you have to get "in the flow." It starts with the flow of walking the woods. Walking up and down the hills, sidestepping thorns, while ducking under branches is an art. You have to develop a different way of moving to pass through and around the brush and briers while constantly looking at the ground, instead of at the branch about to poke you in the ear. You can't tell people how to do this, it can only be learned by doing. By the middle of the season you don't even realize you are doing it.

    By that time you have moved into the flow of the mushrooms. This is usually achieved after seeing the first one. Once you see that pattern and smell that rich earthly aroma, sticks and thorns be damned.

  3. It is a great time to try out some tree ID. Peruse the message boards find out what people say they have found them around in past year's (winter threads are a good place where people spill the beans not caught up in Morel Anxiety Syndrome). Order this MO Tree ID in Winter Guide from the conservation department. It gives good descriptions of the bark and branching structure and it is only three bucks. Take it with you until you can ID the potential subjects. Scout these trees out and note them for later hunts.

  4. Also, for me today I have a small tear in the cartilage of my right hip. It mainly hurts only when I sit but I haven't been hiking much since it was diagnosed. I tested it as well today and to my surprise it held up very well. it only hurt when I sat down to drive in between spots. Now I am confident that as I walk more and more it wont bother my hip.

  5. Last now is the time to note changes, damaged down trees. Places change over the course of time. Good groves of trees change and once you learn when they produce you can tell which section of woods looked more poised to produced based on your experience. SO knowing how things look after winter can help you plan you picking path when they are really hitting. This way you hit the best spots first and then can go back and check in between.
OH and as for that bonus....




You with

A special


The icing on the cake, my first morel of the 2012. Found in Mid-MO the earliest date I have ever found one in all my years of hunting them. With all the warm weather, I had predicted I would find my first on March 15, so I was only one day off.

There were more but they were all teeny-tiny and I covered them up so they wouldn't be seen. This one was just popping through the soil. Sorry I didn't have any change for scale so I had to use my backup fire starter I carry in my pack in case I get lost.

I am not alone. I got reports from Amanda down in Green County, who found two small grays.

Friday, March 09, 2012

More reports of false morels

I have heard from a few more folks finding their first false morels. This photo comes in from St. Charles MO. That just leaves KC and St. Joe left to report on false morels.

The time is getting close.

While you wait, here is a video and a money shot from Camo and his bro down in Georgia.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Morel Video and First Report of "Reds"

As you find morels or signs, please feel free to send me a video sharing your excitement. Nothing like a good video to get the shroom hunting blood flowing.

Don't believe me? Watch this video and tell me different.

That's from camoshroomer's brother down in Georgia. That should get you to dig out the mushroom hunting stick and dust off those boots. And if the Georgia video isn't good enough.

Here is a photo from Camoshroomer himself, who had to go walking around his hunting grounds in Mid-MO.

All I can say is that I am usually finding small grays about 2.5 to 3 weeks after camoshroomer sees his first Reds (false morels -Gyromitra caroliniana ). Interesting cartoon coincidence. Camo, I think you deserve that 8 "eight-hour nap! Heh!"

And before you ask me about eating false morels, read this post from a few years ago:

The Debate over Reds - To Eat or Not to Eat.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Morels Moving North

More and more morel sightings from down south are coming in to various report board. Morels are being found all over GA. Now, people have started reported finding black morels in northern Tennessee.

This nice haul was the reward of camoshroomer's brother's most recent hunt. He even found some that were already rotting, so they have been up for a while. This is going to be a season to get out early and often. Those who snooze will for sure lose.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Miracle of Mushrooms - Some Reading to Pass the Time

I figured it would be nice to post a few things to read while we all wait for the morels to March slowly north. Here are a few interesting and sometimes downright odd things I came across on the internet in searching for "mushroom stories" this winter.

What a way to give back to the environment and all of your hunting buddies. I can see it now.
"Old Tim, kicked the bucket last week" said the mushroom hunter to his buddy.
"That's too bad, Tim sure was a great guy and a great hunter" his buddy replied.
"Tis true, but did you hear he got one of them mushroom death suits?" he asked. "A least there's a bright side." His buddy looked puzzled until the hunter responded, "We will be eating fresh oysters in eight weeks."

I am not even going to touch this one, but next time you buy oysters, you may want to ask the guy what substrate material he used to grow them on or if he has a lot of kids under 2, buyer beware.

I am not a vegetarian, but I cannot wait to try this recipe.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We're Back! - Blog and Morels Come to life in February

Usually I would try to not be thinking about mushrooms right now, but it is tough with all the nice weather. Scarlet cups that over-wintered due to the mild weather are getting as big as 2 inches. Also rattlesnake ferns are popping up in the warmer places.

But this week was the kicker. People down south started finding morels. First in Alabama last week and now Georgia is on the map. And these are yellows they are finding, not the earlier black morels. This is earlier than I have ever seen the deep south come to life in all my years of hunting. Southern Texas has come on about this time, but not these states. By the way, Texas has yet to happen, probably due to the record dry spell they are still going through.

They are on the march and it will be March when they show up here, unless some crazy cold spell comes in and returns all to normal. Mark my words, if you are late this year, you will miss out.

The photo is the first Georgian report, coming in from a former Missourian, Camoshroomer brother, who got transplanted down there.

Here is one more.