Hey ya'll! It's my first season hunting, so I'm a total newbie. I live in eastern Washington County, and have been hunting in my back yard for the past week or so, even though it hasn't been quite perfect conditions (excited I guess). We're approaching the necessary temps, and though the surface duff is dry, it seems like the soil has a fair amount of moisture to at least check. So I've been going to what I think is good morel habitat - a small grove of tulip poplars near a creek with good, slightly filtered light. I've seen mayapples and jack-in-the-pulpit around as well. In areas that seem just perfect, I've noticed the duff has been disturbed - scraped to the side, some perfect little volcano shapes, some just obviously kind of ruffled. I haven't found anything that looks like the remnants of a stem, but what are the chances that morels have been fruiting but being eaten by something? If its a deer or some wild animal, how early do I have to be to beat whoever may be munching on them? Can I deter this in any way? Another note - my neighbors (whose woods connect with my woods) have free range chickens and guinea hens - have these foragers been known to eat morels? Any advice is appreciated - I'm so anxious to find one of those suckers!