Mushroom hunting outlook improves over the past week
The Sportsmenís Report
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By Bill Hanson  November 30, 2012 12:00 am

Mushrooms have come on strong in the last week. King Bolete are on the menu, as are beautiful golden Chanterelles. Amanita have been a no-show this year, at least so far.

On Thanksgiving Day, Jed Douglas and I were on the first crab fishing trip of the season. We had liverwurst sandwiches with PBJ’s (peanut butter and jelly) for dessert…a Thanksgiving meal for the record book. We caught limits of crab, 10 each, then headed back in to clean the boat and boil crabs. Big stinky!

Friday was a honey-do day with real turkey and all the trimmings, courtesy of Kim Douglas. Saturday was four wheeling all day.

The wife of one of the founding members brought his ashes in his favorite beer mug and scattered him to the winds at 6,200 feet.

To round out the weekend, Jed and I went on a foray with the mushroom club and scored five pounds of primo Chanterelle and some very interesting oddball mushrooms. Jed found a clutch of ‘lobster’ mushrooms, although it looks like boiled lobster – orange and blotchy with red highlights. It is actually a parasitized Russala Brevipes, a non-poisonous and mostly bland tasting common mushroom. After it is infected, the cap rolls up into a club shape, and the gills deform to nothing.

We tried it in a butter sauté – underwhelming but different tasting. Experts suggest mixing it with other mushrooms to boost the overall flavor.

With Monday Night Football as background, we had to choke down a take-and-bake pizza covered in fresh Chanterelle and mugs of Jed’s famous dark beer. Life is hard at times!

Roger Praplan made a quick trip to Wisconsin to hunt the northern White Tail deer. The hosts, friends who live there, decided it was time to man up and hit the booze Friday night. They were lights out at 3 a.m., but had a 5 a.m. start time…at least that was the plan. Roger was the only one up, had a bite to eat and closed the door on his snoring friends.

Luckily, they showed him the tree stand the day before. He trudged two miles in the snow and made his way up the frozen steps to the hiding spot. A nice buck snuck up behind him, but when Roger turned to shoot, the buck reversed engines and slipped back into the woodlot.

“Not five minutes later, here comes his brother, bigger and more points,” Praplan said. “I took aim and squeezed off a round. The deer went down, then got up and staggered 50 yards to keel over in the middle of the road.”
After waking up the hung-over leaders, they drove to where the buck stopped, tossed him in the truck and then headed to the butcher shop. Praplan said, “People there are really nice; they wave and say hi. Almost every pickup had deer legs sticking out the back. It’s a big sport there.”

His buck had been feeding on corn with the livestock and was fat. Praplan will eat well this winter, as corn-fed venison and wild mushrooms are a match made in heaven.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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