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Johnsfolly

Hunt turned to mushrooms

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On Sunday I went out for small game or a possible fall turkey with my daughter. We went to a close by national forest land. We found a small herd of cattle with at least one mature bull in the group. As we were getting ready to hunt and within a couple of minutes they were all up to the fence and gate.

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I'm always a little concerned about how the cattle will reapond to us heading into their field. These guys seemed pretty docile. So off we went. Squirrels were active but kept busting us and not giving us a shot. I did connect on a fox squirrel and no grays on this trip. We didn't get any help from the cattle. After about twenty minutes after I shot the fix squirrel we could hear one or more of them mooing close to where we had set up and found some possible grays. 

As we were watching and hoping for a shot on one of the close gray squirrels a deer went running by us. Then several of the squirrels ran off.  Then we heard the cattle above us. Seems like they were circling the wood lot that we were hunting. We decided that they were going to continue to bother our hunting. We were going to call it quits and found seveal lilac colored mushrooms. Pretty excited at finding possible blewit mushrooms. They were a little old, but we picked about a dozen of the fresher ones. Only one gave us a partial spore print and the spores confirmed that these are blewits.

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So with the small game hunt ended, we focused on more mushrooms. I had seen a clump of mushrooms on a log in the distance and was sad to see this chicken mushroom or sulfur shelf that was probably a week past their prime.

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We also found several clumps of these guys, but could not id them to feel comfortable enough to harvest them.

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We did find a bunch of white and yellow amanita mushrooms. We did find two white mushrooms on a log that got our attention from a long distance. Turned out that they were two small lion's mane or bearded tooth mushrooms. After harvesting these two I spotted a larger one about 8 feet up a tree. Olivia quickly volunteered to climb and pick that one. We also harvested a few clumps of coral fungus as well. Not a bad evening.

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Still looking for some hen of the woods mushrooms or fresh chicken mushrooms. Need some more rain. As we were heading back to the car got followed again by the cattle. Not too long and they were back at the fence mooing at us. Here's a couple of parting shots.

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BH

We have been getting some light rains the last couple of days. Maybe had a heavy rain last night. I was sleeping and apparently didn't hear the wind or the rain. Will have to get out again and see what we can find. We still need to get a couple more bushytails anyway. Hopefully you guys are getting some rain.

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    Well John,

When it rains it pours. Wednesday and Thursday produced four and two tenths inches. I heard the ground make a sucking sound as it absorbed the moisture :) . I checked two places for hens that usually produce. Nothing. Then a third tree and bingo some starting to flush or bloom. Went back later with the camera and I swear in the three hour time span they had grown some. These are young hens just poking out. I will call them chicks. Baseball to softball sized. At the base of an old oak. Should find them here for years to come. This will be the third year they have showed so far,

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      Found some oysters on an elm branch laying on the ground. Looked up to see more ten foot up. These were on their way down hill. Even as dry as the ground was a dead punky elm holds moisture like a sponge. Wish I had seen these sooner.

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    I will be watching the chicks closely and wait until they turn into full fledged hens before harvesting and butchering ,

BilletHead

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Got again for a fall turkey this Sat. I hunted another section of National Forest land where I had spooked some turkeys back in Aug. I heard no birds first thing in the morning. Saw a few squirrels within 10-25 yards of me. I had my extra-full turkey choke and loaded with turkey loads. So I held my shots. With the limited time for fall turkey, I didn't want to blow an opportunity on a bird. I kept moving to different ridge tops and calling occasionally. Still no answer. Kept getting badgered by squirrels. They knew that they were safe on this day. many came within 3-5 yards of me. I kicked up a rabbit and would not have had a shot if I was inclined to pull the trigger. I did get to look over a lot of different mushrooms on this hunt. many were gilled mushrooms that I could not id easily and I only left with their photos like the ones below.

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I found several fall chanterelles like these on the big root wad of a fallen tree. What a Halloween treat!! I couldn't wait to pick a bunch.

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Too bad it was a Halloween trick. Since these were the poisonous jack-o-lantern mushrooms. Since they are young enough, maybe I will try to get back to them some evening soon to see if they are still bioluminescent. Here is an older clump on the same root wad.

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Sad to see these old oyster mushrooms. They looked like they were weeping to not be going home to feed my family. I did find five fresh oysters on this trip.

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Did find a few more lion's mane or bearded tooth mushrooms on this log.

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Since I was still hunting turkeys, I came down off of the north ridges, crossed the creek and went up onto the southern ridges on this property. Still not seeing sign or hearing any birds. Then I cam across this guy next to a large oak with only a 1/4 to 1/2 of the trunk still living. I conferred with my fungus guy (aka BilletHead) and we believe that this may be a young hen-of the woods. The other possibility would be a cauliflower mushroom. Both of these options are considered choice by mushroom foragers. It was about 5 lbs. I got to carry this about 1.5 miles back to my car. Since I did not want to destroy it by putting in my turkey vest, I carried it by hand. I lost less than a couple of ozs during the walk/hike back.

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As I came out onto a large overgrown cattle field, I did notice several overturned and torn apart cow patties indicating some likely turkey activity. I dreaded that I would spook a bird and not be able to shoot with one arm holding this large mushroom. Fortunately I only spooked more squirrels and one unseen deer. I'll just have to get back out again.

 

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