"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Morels, Lightning, Minnows
Copyright © 2007 by Bill Scifres

The morel theory expressed by this reporter last week that morels were out on the cool days, but mushroom hunters were baking their shins inside, seems to have at least a glimmer of truth to it.

That, at least, is what one eastern Indiana reader says after finding some 25 black morels on Friday of last week.

“Well you were right on,” the reader wrote.  “I went out Friday and found about 25 small blacks near Batesville. I had looked the last few days of the warm weather we had earlier, and a couple of the first cold days and I found nothing,” That sets us to wondering if others throughout the state have made finds either during the previous warm days, or during the cold weather. The reader adds a PS that he, too, has in the past found morels in the snow.

The report gives us a leg to stand so far as our mushroom theory goes, and we would like to hear from other “morellers” who have braved the elements.

As stated in last week’s column, I briefly explained my theory that nature and northward movement of the sun tend to be more important than ideal conditions in the fruiting of morels. Morellers were staying inside because of the uncomfortable cool weather outside. Actually, I pointed out, I believed the little blacks were there, but rank-and-file morel hunters weren’t.

So if you tried and failed--or tried and succeeded--I would be happy to know about it.


In trying to track down information on what species of trees is struck most often (to help outdoors folks in staying away from them during storms), I have encountered a sturdy wall. Nobody knows anything. So, I think, we should compile our own facts, and know what species of trees are the safest shelters from weather, specifically lightning.

If you will e-mail information on trees known to have been struck by lightning, I will make a record of struck trees, and print it for anyone who wants the information. Information on recent and old strikes will be welcome.

Most important is species of struck tree and location (to avoid duplications). Next the height of the tree struck, and whether the struck tree is still present. After that, any additional facts available will be welcome.

Trees struck by lightning usually have down-scars in the bark of their trunk. Some have other damages.

I seem to find the oaks and cottonwoods more prone to lightning strikes than others, but one outdoors person says this may be because they are taller than other trees. I have never seen a beech tree struck by lightning, or a sycamore.

As a kid I rode out storms in several big hollow sycamores, one so large inside the hollow that there were cow tracks in the earth.


When fishing small, live minnows for crappies, raise the rod tip 18 inches or higher occasionally to keep minnow moving. Be ready for bite as minnow sinks. Same with small jigs.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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