Friday, September 28, 2012
So I finally had a successful hunting trip. The ironic thing is, I went into the woods to pick some wild mushrooms I saw on my last fruitless hunting trip and brought the .22 along "just in case". The one time I wasn't really hunting squirrel I got lucky.
These wild mushrooms are giant puffballs (Calvatia gigantea). They are easy to positively I.D. as they have very distinctive characteristics and no dangerous look-a-likes once they get past a certain size. Please do not use my description as a field guide. Please do your own research and consult at least three different sources when you positively I.D. any wild mushrooms. If you are not 100% sure of the mushroom you have, throw it away. Remember "There are old mushroom hunters, there are bold mushroom hunters - but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters!."
This squirrel is a Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis ). These squirrels are very common and prolific in my area. They have two litters a year producing anywhere from 4 to 16 young a year. They are ready to breed at 5 1/2 months. This one was barking at me about 120 feet up in a shag bark hickory tree.
Here is the giant puffball cut up. People use it as a tofu substitute others bread it and fry it. I chose to saute it with butter and salt. I used the smaller one since it was firm, the larger puffball was starting to go to spore and was soft. Side note, when these mushrooms go to spore they produce several trillion spores!
Here is our wild dinner. Sauteed squirrel with giant puffball mushroom and red onion. It was very tasty and rich. I used a little more butter than I should have do to the mushrooms soaking it up. The squirrel was a little chewy but the flavor was great. The mushrooms are better and tastier than tofu!