Erratic is the word for many morel seasons. Funny the elm I picked the most on was inside the city limits where I live. Only a couple miles from my house. Got to take my wife to help after I left them growing for over 10 days. She had not picked any for over a decade. It was fun to watch her scrambling on a hillside like she was 20 years younger again. She picked 97 that morning while I mostly watched, just tried to help her not step on any. Add the 20 or so I picked before and after and it was my best tree outside of cedars in Ok. and Kan. I got lucky this year and did not get burned on to many long drives, and got to pick a lot within a 100-150 miles of home. I really don't like walking around in the rain much anymore unless the land is flat, I have taken enough spills this year already, and wearing muck boots in hills is to hard on my knees. So I am looking at the forecast north now. It's looking stormy today and maybe tomorrow, so who know what will happen. Iowa could have used that stuff weeks ago and the entire season would have improved. Now its going to ruin much of what may be there. I thought I was done over a week ago, but as you said its hard to stop knowing there is something out there yet. A great hunter I knew who is gone now once said "everyone ain't like you and me. They don't feel like they have to pick every mushroom out there." Like you said a good butt kicking is one way to stop the itch. A question on that 250 tree you had. You said it was a live elm? I rarely find any on those, let alone a motherload like that. Maybe I just don't check them enough. Man next year is a long ways away. A friend mentioned there were lots of big burns in Alaska to hunt............Yeah kb, the late season conditions are excellent, but those preceding them not so much. The period of April 25-May 10 was poor.I'm still shocked over finding about 250 under one tree in southern Johnson Co. on April 23. After that--dry, cold, windy. We just didn't have the numbers this year. One thing I noticed is that the small trees didn't produce at all. Usually a person could count on about 1 in 10 or 15 of the small trees to kick up a few, and if a person checked a couple hundred of those in a day's outing it added up. This year, nothing. It seemed to be feast or famine. Fremont County is some good country. As I recall, there's a good population of cottonwoods over there. If you decide to head north and get a chance to check the area around Linn Grove and Peterson on the Buena Vista & Clay County lines, along the Little Sioux, that could be decent. They've had some erratic weather up there too though. If it's season's end, so be it. You did well. 5 states and countless miles over a month and a half aint bad. Hat's off to you! 325 days and we begin anew.
Hopefully you get another big year or two out of that magic elm. Those babies are getting harder to find every year. I picked little on SW slopes this year, seems the moisture and temps. were out of wack. Yeah mountain burns would be sweet, if only we lived a little closer. I know 2 or 3 guys that go out there pretty much every year. I believe you need a permit if you are on Natl. Forest Land and they make you split them I think to prevent the commercial pickers coming in and picking them all to sell. Not sure how much it is enforced. Sometimes they do great. Once all the pines are dead from the bark beetles and the trees all burned up that will become much harder to do just like hunting elm here. I have spent many summers in the mountains since I was a kid, my mother was from Wyoming and we would go out every year to visit family. Much of the timber has died and burned up since then.Nope, my mistake, it was a big dead elm, I'd estimate about 30 inches diameter at the base, on the upper side of a slight SE-facing mossy slope with a spring below, and about 50 feet in from the edge. Very black soil and plenty of elm clutter in the form of twigs and sticks. It was the perfect habitat for early season, and produced just as well last year. Speaking of hunting burns, my daughter did that when she lived in Florence in western Montana a few years ago. I believe she said she needed a permit and had to split them lengthwise. Not sure about that, but she said you could easily fill a 5-gallon bucket. That almost sounds too easy...but the older I get the more inviting it sounds!