Hugh Erle Smith

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How a Hunt Should Go, January 28, 2005

It was a pretty terrific weekend. 

Actually, it started out fairly dismal and ended on an extremely high note. And that's how you want it, right? 

It's far better than finding all the great stuff at the beginning of the hunt and then ending with nothing to find, and forgetting how fantastic the beginning was. 

It all started Saturday morning at 7 a.m. It was cold! I took two of my Japanese friends on a hunt to Plumas National Forest. I had taken them on a hunt several years ago after a big fire had come with the September/October lightning season. 

I had done very well hunting Morels back then so I took them the very next weekend. We found nothing! Nothing like taking someone on their first hunt and getting skunked!

So... Saturday I took them again for another hunt. Nothing!

Well, nothing for them, but plenty for me. 

Gyromitra infula were still coming up, and I found three great groups of Cudonia. Yeah! Much smaller than the last ones I had found in another location at another elevation, but much bigger groups.

They smoke too! Wow, isn't that exciting? 

There were Amanitas, Russulas, Lactarius, y'know, the usual stuff. 

And I found one truffle. At least, I think it's a truffle. Sure smells good. And it smokes! 

The Gyromitras smoke. The cups smoke. The Helvellas smoke. 

I haven't smoked for two weeks. 

Y'know, when you smoke, nobody else smokes. 

But when you don't smoke, everyone smokes. 

Looks like everything smokes now! 

So then we went to Englebright Reservoir. Found a whole row of some real cool cups with veins on the outside, and yes, they smoke. I had been looking for them since my brother found ONE a few years ago, so that was pretty exciting. 

And we found some Clavariadelphus pistallaris. Now this Japanese man that was with me was looking for something to eat. I told him that Clavariadelphus taste like rope, so he took them home to eat. 

He took some Helvella lacunosa too. He likes them. 

(I think I said before, I've only met one person who didn't like them). 


Didn't rain all day. sure glad we didn't sit at home! 

I met a guy who lives in Magalia and we went to the Spenceville Wildlife Refuge. We were looking for Chanterelles. Didn't find any. 

I noticed that someone had written in recently and spoke of how his Chanterelle spots don't produce anymore. Well I've seen that too. 

I've seen places not produce for 2 or 3 years and then, SCORE! 

Don't give up. Check frequently. 

I don't think this is gonna be a good year. 'Cause last year was. 

So, back to Yuba City we went. 

We headed for the river bottoms to hunt some Oysters, Morels, and Daldinia grandis. Found two Oysters, no Morels (where we have found them before) two perfect Coprinus comatus, and hundreds of Daldinia grandis! Wow, they were abundant. 

Now, this guy from Magalia, well, he wants something to eat too. 

And he was pretty excited about the two Shaggy Manes, so I told him we could go across town to a place where it has produced very well for me the last 3 out of 3 visits. And we did very well again. 

As we were driving across town on the way to that Coprinus spot, we passed a new gas station with flower beds full of chips. And you know what grows in fresh chips. Morels! Over 150 of them! And in such a small area! We left them there until we returned with the Shaggy Manes. 

Now...that's how a hunt should go!