Keep looking – maybe it takes moving a piece of elm bark to find a morel
There are days when trout don’t bite, deer don’t move, morels don’t grow, and turkeys don’t respond to calls or decoys. Sometimes those days last an entire season, just as many hunters experienced during Wisconsin’s first spring hunting period in April.
Often the weather is the culprit, not that is what keeps wild animals from being themselves, but in keeping a hunter or an angler from pursuing a quarry.
Yes, we sometimes stay indoors instead of hunting turkeys or fishing crappies. Sometimes that’s a good move, particularly if the weather is so extreme that it could cause injuries. Other times, though, it’s a matter of ending up with little more than a wet coat.
Whatever the reason, we may be missing opportunities. Maybe the weather really does keep a turkey from responding, but there is more out in the wild than this big game bird.
This spring, for example, morel mushrooms were very slow growing. The season started at least two weeks late and when the fungi did appear, they seemed tiny by most standards. The impact of last year’s drought, as well as a cold spring, was influencing this mushroom’s growth.
Regardless, the season should not have been set aside, even if the plastic or mesh bag we carried home was the same as it was when we left the vehicle. There is more in a spring woods than morels. There is more to a turkey hunt than killing a gobbler.
Chalk these treks up to scouting if nothing is caught, killed or picked. Maybe there weren’t many morels to be picked, but the more we look, the more other things we could see. Maybe it’s a grand patch of leeks, those tasty wild onions. Or maybe we hear a turkey gobbling, sparking an interest in a new hunting location for next fall or spring.
Morel picking may be slim, but finding grove after grove of dead elms could be a bonanza next spring when conditions are more favorable for fungal growth.
That tangle of brambles we struggle through to get back to the vehicle may be loaded with black raspberries in two months. We may see that the area is home to a hen turkey.
There is a chance of an unexpected meeting resulting in a new friend. And who knows, maybe this person could redirect your search to a better location.
Poor weather should not keep one from searching for game, plants, or fungi, even if there seems to be little chance of success. These are ecosystems out there, not corn fields or chicken pens. They are filled with other opportunities, but we have to allow those opportunities to present themselves.