If you’re like me then this time of year is all about bow hunting. Whether it’s a buck in velvet, a rut frenzy, a thanksgiving turkey or a doe on late season food sources, If I’m not working, I’m hunting! However, I’ve learned over the years that there are many other gifts from God out there that go quite well with any wild game harvest, especially deer and turkey. When talking about mushrooms, many people (Including myself for many years) tend to think of spring when it comes to seasons. Although there are some really delicious and plentiful species in the spring season, there is usually a greater chance of success with larger hauls in the fall for me. Cooler weather mushrooms tend to be meatier as well, which I like for cold weather food. There are a number of mushrooms that grow well into November here in Missouri, making them prime candidates for spotting while deer hunting.One of my favorites and one of the easiest to find/identify is the Hen of the Woods mushroom. They usually grow on the base of oak trees and tend to grow on the same tree year after year. They have been known to get as large as 25 lbs and have a strikingly close resemblance to the breast of an old hen chicken. Although they can get very large, I’ve found that the ones about the size of an actual chicken breast are the best. Another favorite of mine this time of year is the oyster mushroom. Like the hen the oyster is associated with growing on trees but rather up in them instead of at the base. I've seen these delicious beauties all through the winter and have even found them in the snow. There are many other species this time of year including the lion's mane, coral mushrooms, chicken of the woods and many varieties of boletes to name a few. It is very important to properly identify any mushroom harvested in the wild. This step MUST be followed as there can be deadly consequences if not. That said, many of these are easily identified and have no dangerous look-alikes. Just be cautious! One of my favorite dishes to make when I have successfully harvested a deer along with some wild mushrooms is a venison wild mushroom stroganoff. I either take cubed backstrap or ground venison along with the mushrooms and pair it with onions, garlic, stock, red wine, cream of mushroom soup and finish with a little sour cream. I like to eat it over a hearty egg noodle but rice or mashed potatoes works well too. So, whether you're out bowhunting, cool water fishing or just enjoying a scenic hike…be on the lookout for some tasty treats! As always, please email with any questions, content suggestions or for any recipes at email@example.com. EC
Call into Foraging
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