008 Old Trapper and The Mushroom Hunt

Tales of the Old Trapper

24-01-2022 • 9 mins

This week’s Tale of the Old Trapper is titled "Old Trapper and The Mushroom Hunt" by Shawn Henninger. About Tales of the Old Trapper:

When I was a young boy maybe 5 6 or 7 My Grandfather would sit me down and tell me Tales of The Old Trapper.  The Old Trapper was a man who lived many years before my grandfather was even born.  The Old Trapper lived on the Land my grandfather had owned that we called the Old Place.

But, Before it was the Old Place it was called Home by the Old Trapper.  This land is where he went on many adventures.  Working with the woods for all the things he needed to food, clothing and shelter.  The Old Trapper was not one for lavish things as he only lived in a single room log cabin he built himself.  Through his adventures he learned many values that he passed on to the community and anyone who crossed his path through his journeys.

So join me as I re-tell the Tales of the Old Trapper just as my Grandfather told them when I was just a child.

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This Weeks Tale:

This week’s Tale of the Old Trapper is titled Old Trapper and The Mushroom Hunt by Shawn Henninger.

As the long winter months begin to come to an end and the streams fill with water from the melting snow, The Old Trapper begins to have just one thing on his mind.  Spring is around the corner.  There is something about the April Rains that brings all the blooming plants back to life.  The Trees begin to fill with leaves and the animals make their way back from their long winter break.  With the Rain and warming weather there is one thing that the Old Trapper has on his mind.  Wild Mushrooms.

The Old Place that the Old Trapper made his home was known in the state to have some of the biggest most delicious Morel Mushrooms.  Some people nicknamed them Dryland Fish, or hickory chickens and even Honeycomb mushrooms.  No Matter Wha people liked to call them the Old Trapper knew they were delicious.

Now there are a lot of Mushrooms that grow wild and the Old Trapper was very careful to make sure that any Mushroom he ate was safe.  Now Mushroom hunting took a lot of walking in the woods so the Old Trapper always made sure he had his Perfect Walkingstick, water, and a small bit of Jerky in case he got hungry.

The Old Trapper would always start his Mushroom hunting in one of two places.  There were two big old trees that he would always find the best mushrooms at.  Whenever he would go out if there were Mushrooms to be found they would be there.  Usually if The Old Trapper did not find any Mushrooms at either of these two Trees, he’d call it a day and go back to the Cabin.  The Old Trapper made his way up the hill and was walking towards the first tree when he saw something slither from behind.  He looked and curled up was a Timber Rattlesnake.

The Timber Rattlesnake was moving rather slow so the Old Trapper knew it must have just slithered out of it’s Winter Den.  No worries Mr Snake The Old Trapper Thought. I’ll come back later and check this tree, I still have my second trusty Mushroom tree.  As the Old Trapper Made his way to his second tree he looked and saw curled off to the side a Medium Size Black Bear.  Now he’s seen one or two Black Bear around these parts but it’s not too common. And A Black Bear out of his den was usually a hungry bear, so the Old Trapper thought to himself that he could check Tree number two later.

The Old Trapper made it a safe distance from the Black Bear and took a seat to drink some water and rethink his plan.  Never in all his years had the Old Trapper skipped looking for Mushrooms around both Trees.  He Began to get flustered as the Old Trapper was one who liked to stick to his plan, but the Rattlesnake and the Bear had thrown him off.

The Old Trapper finished his last bit of Jerky and thought to himself I could go back to the Cabin since my plan was ruined or I could continue to have a wonderful day out in the woods looking for Mushrooms.  One choice: I'll go home, grumpy, with no Mushrooms.  The other Choice I’ll be outside, get some much needed hiking in, and potentially have some mushrooms.

So the Old Trapper did what he thought was best and continued on his Mushroom Hunt.  Now most times when you are Hunting you have to be quiet and sneak around.  Find a spot to sit and wait for something to come your way, but With Mushroom hunting you don’t have to worry about the Mushrooms running away, although some people will tell you they can shrink back into the ground, but you have to look at where they are growing.

The Old Trapper always went off the trail when Mushroom hunting as they tended to be around fallin trees or areas that were wet, but got some sun.  The Old Trapper began looking at a fallen tree kicking around some of the bark, but no luck.  As he kicked more bark he disturbed a ant hill and looked closer.

The Old Trapper had seen an ant hill before and some even bigger than this one, but he took the time to really investigate it.  The Ants were marching in line as they were hauling what looked to be some type of food into the hill.  There was a line going in and a line going out.  Each Ant work to help the community.  The Old Trapper followed the line of ants as it went further and further down the log.  As the Old Trapper reached the end he could see that the line of ants must have gone over 100 feet all the way down to the creek.  This was another great example of nature and something he might have missed if he went back to the Cabin.

The Old Trapper remembered a fence row he had put in years ago in an open field near the back of the Old Place. It was a bit of a walk, but sometimes he would find Mushrooms there.  So the Old Trapper began the hike.  As he walked through the woods he saw that the Cardinals were out flying around. They were very beautiful birds and always brought calm when he saw them.  It was as tho a loved one lost was there just saying hello.

Further up the hill he heard the sound of a woodpecker on an old dead tree.  The Old Trapper searched around the different trees until his eyes stopped as he spotted the Red Headed WoodPecker.  It was making a hole in the old tree to make a new nest for the spring.  Soon it would lay some eggs and not much longer after that the eggs would hatch and some new WoodPecker Chicks would be born.

The Old Trapper watched as he noticed other types of Birds working off the Winter Rust gathering twigs and straw for their new nests.  It wasn’t until he heard the faint sound of leaves that he looked down and saw a large Bobcat walking near the top of the hill.  The Old Trapper Crouched down as it has been Years since he’s seen a bobcat.  The BobCat stopped and looked around as it must have smelled the Old Trapper, but just then 3 small Bobcat Kittens ran behind the larger Bobcat.  Oh what a treat for The Old Trapper’s eyes as he was seeing a mother Bobcat taking her kittens out for their first walk.

The Old Trapper watched as the Bobcat family made their way down the hill and soon out of sight.  It was really amazing to see all of Nature come to life.  The Old Trapper continued up the hill and soon found himself searching along the fence row.  After looking up and down a dozen times he found no Mushrooms.

The Old Trapper began to feel a bit discouraged as he had not yet found a single Mushroom, so he decided that he tried his best, but it was time to head back to the Cabin.  He hoped that maybe the Bear and the Snake had left his two favorite spots and he’d find some Mushrooms there.

All the way back towards those two Trees the Old Trapper saw more and more of the post Winter world.  Squirrels were barking on the trees, a Hawk flew above his head, the Groundhogs were digging the fresh wet earth, and even an Owl decided to say hoot about the day.  The Old Trapper Reached his two Mushroom trees and was delighted to see that both the Bear and the Snake had moved on, but his search turned up zero Mushrooms.

The Old Trapper sulked as he made his way back to the Cabin and went inside to prepare a mushroomless dinner.  The food was good, but he still felt a little upset about the day. If that Bear and Snake had not been at the trees he would have discovered that the Mushrooms were not out yet and could have come back to the Cabin sooner, and not seen a Bear…Or a snake….Or the Woodpecker making it’s new home….The Old Trapper would have even missed out on the Bobcat and her Family…

The Old Trapper sat back and shook his head as today he learned a valuable lesson. Just because your day may not go as you wanted does not mean the day is ruined.  If the Old Trapper had checked his two trees he would of seen there were No Mushrooms and would not have experienced the Wildlife in a Post Winter Day.  I Guess This was a wonderful day after all.

The End