I found enough morels in my secret spot for a taste. Photo by Dave Beck
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Tales and Trails

‘Shrooming season OUTDOOR

What time is it when the grey coats of white tails start to turn red?

What time is it when the May apples almost touch your knee!

What time is it when your lawn fills with dandelions?

What time is it when the trilli ums cover the forest floor?

What time is it when the lilacs bloom?

What time is it when turkey hunters and trout anglers start carrying a mesh bag when they head to the woods and water?

Yep, it’s morel mushroom hunting season. The spring time morel season is on and it requires no license. The only limit is by how much you can carry. This year’s gold rush is a little later than normal if you follow that sort of thing by the calendar. The morel mushroom knows nothing about our sea sons and bows only to Mother Nature. Given our cool start to the warm weather season it stands to reason that the morels are slow to show up this spring. I have been on morel watch for a couple of weeks and I check out all of the likely spots when I’m turkey hunting. According to www.TheGreatMorel.com morel mush rooms started appearing in southern Minnesota and Wisconsin the first week in May and approximately three weeks later they started appearing in the northern reaches of both states. In other words, in our area it’s Go Time.

A couple of days ago I slipped out to my secret mushroom hunting spot, which is very near to my secret trout fishing spot. For those reasons it took me 20 minutes to get there in what is really only a five minute drive. What? You don’t drive around the block a couple of times to make sure you’re not being followed when you head out to your secret spot? Once I was sure the coast was clear, I grabbed my mesh bag and headed out to the south facing hillside and the first morel hunt of the year was under way.

I come from a long line of mushroom hunters. My Grandpa Wally was a trout fisherman and a ‘shroomer. I can remember seeing his fishing creel loaded with Brown Trout and his mush

room bag filled with huge yellows. Being young and naive I al ways thought he was sort of mean for not sharing where he found both. As I got older, I understood that I was just too young to be trusted with such family secrets.

As I neared the first spot, it felt like I was sneaking up on the dead elm tree as if the mushrooms would scatter like squirrels and be gone for good if I wasn’t careful. Actually, that may have happened because I looked around pretty thoroughly and came up empty. I moved across the hillside slowly and checked all the likely spots. It soon became obvious that the ‘shrooms weren’t just going to give themselves up, I was going to have to work for them.

Up the trail a bit, I could see a tree that looked perfect for hold ing mushrooms in its shadow. The tree was in a decaying state with some bark already missing. I’d never bet my favorite trout lure on anything but I’d put up the awful one in the corner of my tackle box that I was going to hit “gold” under that tree. I brushed away the leaves and weeds and sure enough, there were morels (you can still have that piece of junk lure because I never use it).

I didn’t find many mushrooms but I found enough for a taste and I’ve got plenty of time to get back out there. I’d bet my good trout lure that I will do just that.

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BY DAVE BECK

May 31, 2022