Monday, October 14, 2013

Seven Mushroom Hunters' Rules

1) Leave no trace. If you pack it in, pack it out. if you harvest mushrooms, cut them cleanly at the base so as not to disturb the mycelium (so they can grow back next year).

2) Hunt with a friend. It's too easy to get lost or injured in the wild. Let others know where you've gone. Carry essential survival gear in case you get lost/separated: compass/GPS; warm clothing/emergency blanket; first aid; flashlight, waterproof matches and flares; noisemaking devices; any necessary protection against wild animals or insects; a cellphone or walkie-talkie if possible.

3) As a collection device, use a basket or something that will allow spores to fall through and repopulate the forest as you hike.

4) Don't take more than you can use and make note of any local regulations about collecting. Don't hunt on private property without permission.

5) Take a camera. Many times you will wish to document rather than collect.

6) Don't eat anything that you haven't made a 100% positive ID for. Know which species have poisonous counterparts that look similar or identical. Always cook mushrooms you have collected in the wild thoroughly.

7) Have fun! It's as much about enjoying and appreciating God's creation and getting fresh air and exercise as it is about the actual hunt.

Finallly, this isn't a rule as much as a suggestion. You may not want to disclose the specific locations of "mother lodes" of wonderful mushrooms you have found ... but, mushroom hunting is a sport best shared, and you will enjoy it most if you invite others to participate, and teach them what you have learned.

I take out groups of hunters each year, simply to share the joy of hunting mushrooms! (Let me know if you are ever interested in participating.)