Morel Mushroom Hunting Leads to Badger Encounter

| 4/21/2009 4:37:00 PM

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A photo of the author, Caleb ReganOne of the things I live for is weekends when I can throw the fishing poles in the Blazer, load up my dog, and leave the city and work behind for a weekend to visit my family down south. As it turned out this last weekend, I wouldn’t need the fishing poles, but we did manage to get out into the woods and find some morel mushrooms.

Arriving at my mom’s – an hour and a half south of my home in Lawrence, Kansas – Saturday around noon, I knew the forecast called for rain. Also, it had been raining for a few days there, so I knew getting back into pastures where the ponds are was out of the question. Sitting on the couch watching baseball, someone suggested morel mushroom hunting.

Largest morel we found, next to a Mason jarMom and I had talked in the days leading up to my visit about how it was morel season, so I think it was in the back of our minds all along.

As I’ve mentioned previously in blog posts, my mom – and all the people I know who hunt morels, really – is very protective of her spots. They’re hard to come by, so when you find a good one that produces every year, you’d like it to be a well-kept secret, like a favorite restaurant that has a certain pie on a certain day and you don’t want to tell your friends for fear they’ll start showing up and wiping out the supply.

Driving into her first spot, one of her honey-holes, the main thing she was worried about was leaving tracks in a very soft field. After driving back about a half-mile or so along a hedgerow, she said simply, “Okay, anytime,” to my brother, Andy, and he stopped and killed the engine.

Seemingly five second later, she spotted a big brownish-orange morel from her passenger seat. We would later regret that this initial excitement led us to plunge into the forest without applying insect repellent.

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