Have You Been Mushroom Hunting For Too Long?

Editor’s Note:

I am going to take a brief break from writing about more “serious” topics like chanterelles and morel indicator species, because it’s entirely too nice outside to apply myself to anything other than The Silly. To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible to go mushroom hunting too much or be engaged with this hobby for too long, but I guess that some of my friends or relatives who are not mushroom fanatics might disagree with me. This post is intended to give you a few hints that you’ve been mushroom hunting for too long.

Yours in Fungal Fancy,

Mushroom Anna

32 Indicators That You’ve Been Mushroom Hunting For Too Long

Russula rhodopus
Russula rhodopus. Russulas are extremely common, and if you’re a mushroom hunting fan, you’ll become very familiar with them. Photo by Anna Baykalova. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
  1. You still call big yellow morels Morchella esculenta, and you feel personally upset when some upstart splitter renames a mushroom you’ve been hunting for years.
  2. You have about 50 million excuses to convince your loved ones that you need to go mushroom hunting RIGHT NOW. For example, this is one of my personal favorites: “I had a really bad day at work, and I know it’s going to be dark in about 30 minutes, but I need to go mushroom hunting because I have a load of chores to do this weekend. If you want me to finish those chores, you’ll understand that going for a quick mushroom hunting trip is in everyone’s best interest, because I’ll totally be able to focus on those tasks if I get it out of my system real quick this evening.” Bonus points if you don’t actually end up doing the chores, but take yourself mushroom hunting AGAIN when it’s time to get busy cleaning out the gutters, giving the dog a bath, or whatever other honey-dos are on your list.
  3. When it rains, you can literally hear the mushrooms popping up, and you think that umbrellas are for the weak.
  4. You think that it’s a shame that the genus Coprinus is so small these days, and you kind of miss calling shaggy parasol mushrooms Macrolepiota rachodes.
  5. You have a number of items that are dedicated to mushroom hunting that show significant signs of wear and tear. For instance, you own a mushroom hunting walking stick that is super-lucky even though it’s sort of down at the heels, a dedicated mushroom hunting basket that is so old the handle-leather is shiny, and you have a mushroom hunting-related bumper sticker side-by-side with your Clinton-Gore bumper sticker.
  6. Your smartphone wouldn’t dare autocorrect “morels” to “morsels.” Otherwise you might throw it out the window, and it seems to know this.
  7. You remember a time when Paul Stamets and Fungi Perfecti were not household names.
  8. You have a handy list of places that are good for mushroom hunting so you can tell beginners where to look. These are NOT your primary patches.

    Cortinarius orellanus
    A fool’s webcap, Cortinarius orellanus. Mushrooms in the genus Cortinarius used to be considered universally safe, but now a few poisonous species are recognized, including this one! Photo by Andreas Kunze. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.
  9. You own (and use) Alexander Smith’s mushroom field guides and absolutely love them, even though most of the names are out of date.
  10. You think it’s ridiculous when some internet weirdo describes themselves as DTF (that means Down to Forage, you perverts).
  11. When you go mushroom hunting, you don’t walk for miles anymore. You simply hop from spot to spot. If you wanted to go hiking, you’d just go hiking!
  12. You can point out places in your community where there used to be a great mushroom patch that has been paved over to make way for a PetSmart. Bastards.
  13. Your GPS has so many mushroom hunting waypoints that it takes you an hour to scroll through them all.
  14. You are totally unfazed by poor mushroom seasons, because there’s always next year!
  15. You cannot imagine what it would be like not to have people consistently ask you questions like: “I saw this brown mushroom with a cap the other day. What species is that?”
  16. You remember the good old days when people thought that all mushrooms in the genus Cortinarius were safe to eat.
  17. You’ve gotten lost while mushroom hunting, but it was scary enough (or embarrassing enough) that you take pains to make sure it NEVER happens again.
  18. You’ve gone through at least two dehydrators, and think it’s just the coolest thing in the world that the convection feature on your oven allows you to dry mushrooms at 110 degrees.
  19. When people come to visit you from out of town, they don’t even tell you that they want to go mushroom hunting. You both know what you’re after.
  20. When you take a walk in the woods with a non-mushroom hunting friend, they are not even a little bit surprised when you abruptly stop talking mid-sentence and dash off into the woods to inspect something.
  21. You’ve got a dedicated mushroom hunting pack with all the essentials (field guide, hand lens, GPS, water, knife, brush, safety whistle, and whatever else) stashed in your vehicle at all times.
  22. Your co-workers frequently ask you if the tupperware in the communal office fridge is full of leftovers or wild mushrooms…because it still worries them that the answer is going to be “BOTH!” about 50% of the time.
  23. You’ve logged more than 1,000 observations on Mushroom Observer.
  24. You’ve attended enough mushroom forays to know that when the organizers are looking for kitchen helpers, it’s probably in your best interest to sign up to work the identification table instead.
  25. Russula was one of your child’s first words (I actually know that this has, in fact, happened).

    Boletus edulis
    The king bolete or porcini, Boletus edulis. Photo by Tomas Čekanavičius. Public domain photograph.
  26. You know better than to ask the ranger if you need a mushroom gathering permit in parks and forests that do not have an explicit and obvious policy. If you ask, they will almost surely tell you that mushroom hunting is not allowed.
  27. You’re kind of used to hiking with a camera tripod in one hand.
  28. You have lost at least 3 knives in the woods while mushroom hunting.
  29. You can’t remember the last birthday or holiday that you did not receive at least one mushroom hunting themed present.
  30. You’re personally offended by the adage: “There are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but no old, bold mushroom hunters.” You consider yourself both old and bold, and you’re still alive, right?
  31. Before agreeing to go on a date with someone, you think it’s completely legit to ask them if they prefer chanterelles, porcini, or morels. Their answer matters. A LOT.
  32. You think bird watchers are totally insane (just kidding).

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