On Monday the Tier II Subsistence Moose Hunt ended. With it went my best excuse to wear camouflage, and my reason for carrying a rifle around the peniinsula. The last day of the hunt, unlike many the previous month, featured sunny, mild weather, excellent conditions for roaming the forest.
There’s a reason I refer to the annual opening as the “armed mushroom hunt.” On some hunting days, I may go out without my full pack of gear, but I never go without my mushroom bag. I had particularly good luck on that last day of the hunt; typically, it had nothing to do with moose.
This year, an acquaintance who is a very experienced mushroom hunter introduced us to the mock matsutake. Sadly, this fungus gets its name from similar looks to the much sought-after matsutake, but not flavor. The matsutake apparently has a legendarily tantalizing odor and taste that this look-alike doesn’t possess. Nevertheless, it’s a good, tasty mushroom, and when found, there’s a whole lot of it.
On Monday, I found a small stand of the mushrooms. In short order, my mushroom bag had filled to overflowing. I made an excellent mushroom variation of a favorite pasta topping (see Garlic Sauce Over Pasta) for dinner that night. I only used half of one of the mushrooms to create a filling dinner for two. The rest I sliced up for drying.
Now that the hunt’s over, I won’t stop harvesting mushrooms. I’m eager to make up for lost time (see Late Bloomers). But, I will stop lugging around my rifle and other hunting gear. I may give into the temptation of continuing to wear camo, though . . . .
Do not make the mistake of using this post, or any of this blog’s discussion of mushrooms as a guide in selecting mushrooms. Do that only with a good guidebook (we prefer David Arora’s All That the Rain Promises, and More . . .) or an experienced guide—preferably both!