Morel Mushroom Hunting

Morel in eastern West Virginia

Morel in eastern West Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips
Timing and Weather Conditions:
End of April to the end of May are the best times, weather dependent. Listen to your friends for news. Ideal temperatures are between 60 – 70 degrees during the day and temperatures in the 50’s at night.
Conditions for a Good Mushroom season:
They say that a heavy snowfall will produce a great season. Perhaps this is because of all the moisture that the snow brings that is in the ground making the conditions better. Mushrooms don’t particularly like dry conditions and thrive on moisture. And if we can slide into the spring without a lot of up and down changing temperatures and a gradual warm up this is the perfect weather for the best mushroom results.
How to pick them:
Clip or break them off, but don’t pull the morels from the ground as you want to maintain the root system so they will continue to come up year after year as long as the soil provides the proper nutrients.
Best places to find them:
In the woods Mushrooms tend to want to grow around trees like in old Apple orchards and dead Elm trees and logs. Living White Ash and Maple are also common areas. They like places where wood has burned, under leaves, moist areas etc. Old stumps and fallen trees are popular harvesting areas. Morels like rich black or sandy soil and not clay. You may find them next to river of streams. But some have found them in tall grasses and areas with just black dirt.
The hardest thing is to adjust your eyes to see a morel as they are the same color as the ground and the leaves and twigs/branches that surround them. I actually know someone who takes a morel with them on their hunt just so he can adjust his eyes to be looking for the shape and color of the mushroom. It’s usually hard to find your first one and after that there are others that congregate in the same area in flushes because often their root systems are spread out.
Expert mushroom hunters agree that if you know your trees you’ll be a lot more successful in hunting them so learn your trees.
Morel Colors:
Light tans, grays and blacks. The black morels usually emerge first in the season.
Caution for first time morel hunters:
“The Morel is one of the easiest mushrooms to identify in the woods but care and caution should always be taken when out in the woods hunting any type of wild mushroom. You should always go with an experienced hunter first to help you identify which mushrooms are safe. There are many dangerous plants and fungi that will kill you. There are many safe mushrooms that have false look-a-likes out there that can be deadly and there have been people that have mistakenly picked and eaten the wrong ones. There is no known cure for mushroom poisoning. So be absolutely sure before picking and once again, if you are new to mushroom hunting go with an experienced hunter first. Rule: When in doubt, throw it out.” (Per northcountrymorels.com) Another rule is that a true morel will always be hollow on the inside with the cap portion securely attached to the stem. There are poisonous mushroom that look like morels that have a white cotton fiber in their stem and a cap that is barely attached and drapes the stem like a skirt.
What can you eat with morels:
Morels are wonderful cooked in butter and salt and pepper – simple. Because of their amazing flavor they are great like this and go well with steak or chicken or as a topping for pasta if you’re a vegetarian. I also recommend them in an omelet. They can be used in place of more common mushrooms in any recipe, but if there are a lot of ingredients and seasonings, it will sometimes mask the great flavor of he morel which is for most “the main event”.
Best Attire:
Wear long pants and long sleeves as you’ll be walking through prickly bushes, trees and maybe even poison ivy.
What to bring with you on a hunt:
A compass – When you’re looking at the ground and walking you can go a mile in a random pattern and you need to know how to get back to your car.
A GPS – Even better is a GPS (Global Positioning System) with your compass and you can mark the area where you find the mushrooms so you can return again to this spot in the future.
A mesh bag – These are ideal for allowing the morels once you find them for dropping spores as you continue to walk further developing the area for more mushrooms in future seasons. They also allow air to circulate around them unlike a plastic bag which holds heat and moisture and activates the rotting process.
Walking Stick – If you’re walking a long time you can also use the stick to move twigs and leaves rather than bending over all of the time.
Hiking Boots – A light, waterproof hiking boot is great as you’ll encounter many muddy areas along the way. It also provides good ankle support as you’re stepping over uneven terrain and branches on the ground.
Two – Way Radios – So you can separate with your partner or group and still find them. They can also alert you to a good find.
Water & Snacks – A 2 quart canteen that you can hang around your neck and. Snacks, so you don’t have the leave the woods due to hunger.
Insect Repellent – Deep Woods Off with Deet is a great option for both mosquitoes and ticks.

Spring Turkey Hunting

SPRING TURKEY HUNTING TIPS : Very few outdoor experiences can compare with spring turkey hunting. The sport can, to say the least, be challenging, exciting and in some cases almost addictive. When a gobbler sounds off up close, or he’s strutting just out of range, even the most experienced hunter’s heart tends to pound uncontrollably. This is because a wild turkey’s senses are extremely keen. Its eyesight and hearing are among the best in the woods. I’ve often heard it said, “If a turkey could smell, you’d never kill one.” Due to a turkey’s nature to flee at the first hint of danger, one errant move can cause a gobbler to seemingly vanish like a puff of smoke.

This is the challenge that makes turkey hunting so intriguing and is helping to attract droves of new hunters to the sport. This article covers some of the basics to help get you started hunting wild turkeys.

Scouting

Before you can hunt wild turkeys, you’ve got to find them. The easiest way is to start with the big picture, locating general areas of turkey habitat, then gradually narrow it down to a certain area, then a certain piece of property, then specific hunting sites. Wildlife biologists, conservation officers, sporting goods dealers and hunting club members are good places to start. Ask about federal and state lands, wildlife management areas, reservoir properties and military reservations. Don’t overlook private lands. Some landowners will grant permission to hunters who ask courteously, or perhaps you can wrangle an invitation out of a friend.

Field scouting begins after you have identified several possible hunting spots. Get a good map of the area you plan to hunt. Drive the back roads during the first couple of hours after dawn, stopping along ridges, high points, power lines, open creek and river bottoms to listen for gobbling.

Use a turkey call or a locator call, such as an owl hooter or crow call, to try to get a response. When you hear a gobbler, mark the location on a map. If you get a bird to answer you, don’t continue to call to him. This often causes gobblers to become call shy and they will not respond to you once the season opens. Additionally, birds that continue to gobble also tend to attract the attention of other hunters who might be scouting the area.

Finally, scout your best locations on foot. Check for signs of scratching where birds have been feeding. Droppings and feathers can also provide you with information about turkeys in the area. Gobbler droppings tend to be club shaped, while hen droppings have a corkscrew appearance. A gobbler’s body feathers are black tipped, while hen feathers are buff colored. Check along creek banks and around mud holes for tracks. In the evenings listen for birds flying up to roost. If you are able to roost birds, come back the next morning and listen for gobbling.

Make as many trips to the area as possible before the season starts. Learn the terrain features: creeks, log roads, fencerows, pastures, etc. This will help later when you are maneuvering during an actual hunt. Hopefully, by opening day you will know the location of several gobblers.

Camouflage

Because wild turkeys have such keen vision, camouflage is almost a must to avoid being seen. This normally includes a camo suit, cap, facemask and gloves. Don’t forget to wear dark colored socks so that they don’t show when you sit down. Many turkey hunters also wear a camo vest with plenty of pockets to carry calls, shells and maybe a snack. These vests often have a drop-down padded seat to add a little comfort while you’re working a bird.

In recent years camouflage makers have come up with a wide array of patterns and colors. Try and match the color of the foliage where you will be hunting. Early season patterns with mostly browns and grays usually blend in best, while patterns with more green mixed in blend in better as new leaves bud out. Always remember: controlling movement is most important regardless of how well you are camouflaged.

Shotguns and Ammunition

The best shotgun and ammunition for turkey hunting is the combination that delivers a dense, hard-hitting pattern at 40-45 yards. Most hunters use larger gauges (12 or 10 gauge) with tight chokes (full or extra full). Shells are usually 3 or 3 ½ inch magnums loaded with #4, #5 or #6 size shot. The smaller the shot size (the larger the number), the greater the number of pellets in a shell. However, the smaller pellets weigh less, carry less energy and provide less penetration at longer distances than pellets of a larger shot size.

Before hunting, pattern your shotgun to see which choke, brand of ammunition and shell load produces the most uniform pattern and density. Pattern performance will vary with different gun, choke, load and ammunition manufacturer combinations.

To pattern a shotgun for turkey hunting, use a target that depicts a turkey’s vital head and neck area (make several copies). The head and neck is what you should be shooting for when your turkey comes in range. Set the target up at 40 yards and shoot from a rest. Compare the number and density of pellets striking the vital area with the different choke and ammunition combinations to see which one shoots best in your gun. You should have at least 8 to 10 pellets in the vital area at 40 yards. Once you get satisfactory results at 40 yards, fire additional rounds at 25 and 45 yards. These rounds will show you what patterns you can expect at different distances and help you determine your shooting limits.

Calls and Calling

Video on turkey calling basics

Good calling and knowing when to call are often critical keys to success in turkey hunting. Hunters typically imitate hens to call a gobbler into gun range. Hens make a variety of calls: yelps, clucks, cuts, purrs and whines. The best way to learn to call is to practice with an experienced turkey hunter or to purchase an instructional video or audio cassette and then practice the calls taught by the instructor. It isn’t necessary to become an expert in each of these calls to have success in turkey hunting. Gaining a good command of yelps and clucks will be of most benefit to new turkey hunters.

As with camo, guns and shells, a number of different types of calls are used in turkey hunting. The most popular styles include box calls, slate-type friction calls, wingbone and trumpet calls, diaphragm calls, push-pin and tube calls. Beginning hunters should normally consider box calls, slate-type friction calls and push-pin calls for their ease of use.

On a given day any of these calls will work. Each style call has its own distinctive sound. A gobbler will sometimes answer one call but not the others. So, carry several calls and take turns trying them. If one call doesn’t get a response, another one might.

When calling turkeys, less is better in most cases. Don’t over call. The more you call, the more likely you’ll hit a sour note or that your movement will be seen by an alert gobbler or hen that has quietly moved in to check you out.

The Hunt

Once you locate a gobbler, the next step is to move in close and call him into gun range. Your goal is to slip as close as possible without spooking him. Then you “set up” and attempt to call him close enough for a shot.

Remember: when approaching a turkey, if he spots you, he’s gone! Be careful not to be seen. Terrain and foliage normally dictate how close you can get before setting up. Veteran hunters rarely approach inside 100 yards. They may set up as far away as 300 yards if the ground is flat and there is little foliage to conceal their movements.

Use the terrain to your advantage as you approach a gobbler. Stay behind hills, thickets or other features that will screen your movements. Walk as quietly as possible in the leaves, and don’t break any sticks.

When setting up, pick a location that offers the gobbler an easy route to your location. There should be no creeks, gullies, fences, thick undergrowth or other barriers between you and the bird. Also choose a spot that is on the same contour or slightly above the turkey’s location. Don’t try to call a gobbler down a steep slope. Pick an area that provides you with a good view of your surroundings.

Sit against a tree, stump or other object that is wider than your back and taller than your head. It will hide your outline and protect your back from a hunter who might move in behind you. Face the turkey’s direction with your left shoulder (for right-handed shooters), this provides you with a greater mobility of your gun when aiming. Above all, keep your movement to a minimum as you call. If the gobbler is working toward you, then goes silent, don’t move. Sometimes gobblers will sneak in quietly.

If you set up and a gobbler answers your call but won’t come, you’re going to have to change your game plan. You may need to circle around and call from another location. You might change to another call. If you’ve worked him a long time and he’s still hung up, you might leave the gobbler and come back in a couple of hours and try again. Many hunts require several moves and/or strategy changes.

Once you get a bird working to you, get your gun up on your knee pointed in his general direction with the stock against your shoulder. When a gobbler finally walks within range (inside 40 yards), wait until he steps behind a tree or other obstacle to move your gun. When he reappears, aim carefully at his head/neck junction, and then squeeze the trigger. When a gobbler struts, the neck (spinal column) is compressed and the head is often partially hidden by feathers, making for an even smaller target. If the gobbler is strutting, wait until he extends his neck to shoot. A clean, one-shot kill should be the goal of every hunter.

It’s a great moment when a long beard answers a hunter’s call. This is when all the scouting and preparation pay off. It may not always result in bagging the bird, but that’s part of the challenge and the memories. If you listen to a veteran turkey hunter, you’ll note that the hunts most often remembered are those where the gobbler, and not the hunter, won.

Tips for the novice Bass Fisherman

Fishing,Tips For Beginners

Getting Started
When choosing a good setup to start fishing especially for bass, I found bigger is not always better. I started out with a 7-foot FLW Platinum pole and a Quantum standard spinning reel. I found that when I hooked my first bass I hardly knew that he was on. This defeats the whole objective of enjoying the fight these great fish deliver.
I then moved to an Ultra-light 5-foot Quantum with an ultra-light reel. This was more like it. Even the one-pounders felt like something really great and I learned to actually feel the fish. I found 6-to 8-pound test Berkley Xl line to be the greatest in casting and had extra stretch to help absorb the shock from the fish.
Beginners can really fight a one-pounder and feel the thrill of the fish taking drag with these small poles. This gives you valuable experience in learning how a bass moves and reacts after setting the hook.
Start out small and then get bigger. That’s my advice. Also don’t expect to start laying into some five-plus pound fish. They will come with time. Start out seeking smaller fish and gain experience in the fight. You learn how to handle the mighty bass this way because you will need it when you tackle the monsters that are out there.
Starting Baits
When starting out it is not necessary to go out and buy all the tackle in the store. Start out with the necessities and that’s all you will need for now.
Select a few crankbaits. I find the FLW tour crankbaits to be the best in price and they catch fish. You will need a shallow diver and a deep diver. Two colors of each are fine. Bass are not too picky when it comes to color. Find a natural looking one that resembles baitfish and select a shocker bright one. These represent the two extremes and work well.
Next select a few spinnerbaits. There are so many varieties, but I found the Terminator to be the best. Go for natural and then some shocking colors, both with gold blades. I find that they work best in all conditions.
Select some plastic worms. I call this the patient bait because you often fish for a lot longer before landing a bass. Going for natural colors has served me well and make sure you go through the whole selection available.
Where To Fish First
When one learns to swim, you never jump into the deep end of the pool; you start out in the shallows and make your way into deeper water. I used this principle and started in small ponds and not big Lakes. You catch smaller fish generally but it is the perfect practice ground and will provide you experience with these fish.
Where To Find Fish
This was the first question I asked myself, but I was not completely alone. My brother had some bass experience in South Africa and he gave me a couple of ideas. The best way to look at it is that bass always play hide and seek. You have to look for them, and when you find them you will catch them. Obvious places are boat docks, structures and any obstacles in the water. Bass love to hide in these places so try there first. If you are not successful, then look for areas where the water or the plants change. Where rocks become sand or weeds become hydrilla is a good place. If this fails then try anywhere. I have landed a couple of fish just trying in any area. Fishing is part luck so let luck give you a chance.
Picture yourself as a fish and ask the question, where would I hide and this will give you great success. I don’t believe that any fisherman can say exactly where the bass are so try and try and you will catch.
Methods Of Catching Bass
My favorite and most successful method is the crankbait. Others will argue, but I love crankbaits. I have fished all other baits and lures but crankbaits have helped me catch the most fish. It is a simple means of fishing that requires minimal skill. This suits a beginner fine and provides him with the confidence to fish.
Fishing mostly with crankbaits has provided me with plenty of experience. Here are some tips:
The simple throwing and retrieving method can become very monotonous and boring, so I played with the crankbait in the water. I did this by varying its speed and how deep it goes by reeling faster or by lowering or raising the pole. I found that in calm clear water the bass preferred a regular steady retrieve with no sudden movements, and in choppy murky water they loved an irregular fast and slow retrieve. You must also experiment with this and see what suites you.
Bass love colorful lures and they seem to hit them more often. I think these lures bother them and so they get mad and attack. I find that casting over and over into an area with bass will always produce an attack. They don’t like the lures bothering them.
Using bait scent has always improved the strikes and I am a firm believer in them.
When you fish with these lures, always try to make them look good in the water and make the bass come after them. You can do this by making them swim as real as possible. This can be frustrating but if you get the skill you will catch big fish. And believe me, practice makes perfect.
I have found that using bright colored lures in muddy water and more natural ones in clear water works well. My biggest bass hit a bright yellow and white crankbait in dark water. I guess he was the bully of the area because the bigger bass always seem to grab these lures.
Bumping these lures against objects in the water attract fish, but you run the chance of getting the lure stuck. This will cause many terrible words coming from your mouth and could cost you money in the end. Be careful where you throw or you will loose your lure. Getting lures into little places is difficult so keep practicing it and you will get it right.
The Spinnerbait
This lure is also a great catcher of fish but needs a bit more skill to operate. This doesn’t grab us beginners so I don’t use it too much. I found that I was loosing fish that were hitting the blades and not the jig with the hook. This didn’t go down well and forced me to hate it. I have caught fish on them but loosing more than you catch is not great.
Big bass can also bend and break them so going for the titanium ones is the only choice. The variety of spinnerbaits is endless but stick with the bright colors. When reeling these lures back I found that keeping it just under the surface of the water worked best because the bass were attracted by the wake it created in the water. Once a fish has taken the lure make sure to strike hard and set the hook because they spit it out the moment they realize it’s not a real baitfish.
The Plastic Worm
This is a good lure and represents the most edible and tasty meal — a worm. This type of fishing requires a lot of patience and skill, which can cause you to dislike it at first. But some days a bass will just love a worm. I found irregular movements in the water caught more bass. The wilder the worm went the more the bass loved it.
Once the bass takes the worm don’t strike! Let him swim away with it and then strike. This is such a difficult thing to do because when he takes the line you want to catch him, but patience is the best manner. Bigger bass are not too easily attracted by worms so making them look as real as possible will work. I say that the bigger the bass, the wiser the bass.
Fishing is a learning sport and no one knows it all. Ask questions and don’t be limited by your own opinions. Try all techniques and experiment with things. You will find something that works for you and maybe you can help someone else. Go fishing often and you will learn. I found that early morning and late afternoon fishing proved to be most successful.

My First Blog Ever

This is my very first blog and I am just setting up the site I am not used to WordPress yet just started using it today , will follow-up with real content soon. I have also started my first three websites ever this month and also just joined Twitter today and just sent out my first ever tweet Woohoo!!!! : ) …  It is a lot of stuff I know, but I am jumping in head first and going to give it my best shot at trying to make a little money along the way, as of right now I only have $2.50 tied up in everything so if I only make $10.00 I will have at least made a profit . I know it will take a long time to build up a following and an online reputation, but you will never know if you do not try. There is already a lot I have learned about the scam artists out there that promise you can get rich without hardly doing anything other than buying their program, and then there are the ones that promise tons of traffic but they always want to up sell you something after you get in the door, luckily I have not giving any of them any money it just never felt right. So hopefully with this blog I can start to meet others that have had some positive experiences and learn from them. But I must admit I would also like to blog about other things as well such as Hunting, Fishing, Camping and Outdoor Recreation too or should I start a whole other blog site or a forum for that kind of interest, that is the kind of things I need to get insight on.