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April 24, 2020 Comments Off on VIDEO: Eagle’s eye for mushrooms Featured, Latest, Nature

VIDEO: Eagle’s eye for mushrooms

by Flip Putthoff

A frosty morning in autumn is ideal for hunting the elusive white-tail deer. It’s bad news in April for hunters who go on springtime safari for morel mushrooms.

Nichols combs a hollow on Wednesday April 15 2020 near Pineville, Mo. during a hunt for morel mushrooms.
(NWA Democrat-Gazette/Flip Putthoff)

One spell of cold weather after another has created challenging conditions this month for mushroom sleuths like Melissa Nichols of Jane, Mo. She’s bagged up plenty of morels on her woodland treks that take place almost daily not far from her cabin on Little Sugar Creek. Still, she’s used to picking more.

Nichols normally measures here take of mushrooms by the pound, not by counting individual morels. She typically exits the forest with dozens of morel mushrooms of all sizes in her mesh shoulder bag.

The hunter’s expertise at finding them has been honed over a lifetime of looking for morel mushrooms. She’s got an eagle’s eye for seeing morels. The delicacies blend in so well with the forest floor they can be hard to spot. Even mushrooms hidden deep in leaf litter can’t hide from her searching eyes.

“My dad started taking me into the woods with him when I was a baby,” she said.

Nowadays Nichols takes friends, family and their children into the woods to share the joy.