The temps are hovering around 50 degrees with a touch of light rain as I stare out my window trying to come up with a May article. The grass is starting to turn green with the rain. Sparrows are fighting for the one bird house I have hanging in my tree. The trees are starting to bud out and the crocuses and Day
Lilies are beginning to bloom. What does the first week of May mean to me?
Well, the Muskies are coming out of the spawn, the crappies are fat and biting and the last weeks of turkey season are upon us. My money is due for the goose lease, my to do list is growing every hour and it won’t be long before the thunder starts to roll at Indy. The list goes on as we start spending more time in our yards and less time in front of the TV. All these things are announcing that summer is soon to follow, but the first weeks of May truly mean one thing to me, giant yellow morel mushrooms. You know, the ones that tower above the emerging underbrush. The ones you can see from 50 yards out. The yellows, that with one cut down the side, you have a topper for an entire steak. This is what the first weeks of May bring to mind for me.
The weekends in April find you scouring the dead elms and hillsides for the small grey mushrooms. The sacks are the talk of local bars and water coolers in the workplace. Crazed people offer big dollars for a small sack of these tasty morsels. It is truly a rite of passage as an outdoorsman to succeed and even excel at this time-honored tradition in this part of the country. A full sack can make you a Facebook hero with hundreds of likes, while an empty sack can have your peers questioning your outdoor skills. Most people will start hunting the hard to spot greys as soon as the first days of April reach 70 degrees or the first photos start emerging on social media. I myself have ducked out of work early caught up in the hype. Most of the time, I generally start romping the hills around the 3rd turkey season. Miles for a few Greys. The fryer gets stoked up, and I eat until I get sick. This one sack would be the end of it for most people, but I like to enjoy the little boogers all year long. Nothing gets me going better than a pile of sliced yellows waiting to go into the dehydrator to be dried, wrapped in paper towels and set ever so carefully into the freezer to be discovered on a cold, snowy day in January. Nothing beats fried morels and post season football. The best time frame to get these huge mother loads of yellow gold is the first and second weeks of May. The weeds are high, the humidity is high, the temps are high, but with the sight of the mother load tucked under a tangle of multi-floral rose and elms makes me HIGH!
Hunting morels at the end of the season is usually tough. The woods have been trampled with every nook and cranny explored. If you find one, there are usually more around. You have to push your stick into every weedy clump, being careful not to break off these delicate giants. Your arms will be scarred, and your knees covered with mud but, believe me my friends, when you pull a bunch out of the freezer in January, re-hydrate them in water and send out a text or two, you won’t have an empty seat in front of the big screen or a full bottle of ranch dressing in the fridge. So, as I smile and go through the pics on my laptop glancing occasionally out the window at the cold, grey, rainy cool skies, my heart is warm because I know the April showers can bring the giant yellow morel May Mother Loads that will be the talk around countless fire pits across this broken state for the months to come!
I will finish up by saying Go Get’eeeeem People there’s Yellow Gold in them there Hills…..
See Ya around the Elms….