"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Smelly House Bill 1585 Quarantined
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

House Bill (HB) 1585, the brain child of Rep. Bill Friend, of up Kokomo way (not to be construed as a “friend” of good conservation practices), has been heard in the Senate after passing the originating House, and has been somehow sidelined. They call it quarantined.

But fear not, ye good conservationists and resource managers, I hear the concept of the smelly bill will be taken up by the Summer (Legislative) Study Committee this summer.

A true “friend”of unpopular concepts involving natural resources, said legislator rode herd on a deer pen bill a few years ago until a much involved constituent--should that be client--was sent to the Big House for unlawful operating procedures.

If the summer panel of legislators wastes time on this matter, it may be time to sing the group’s swan song. 

Several years ago the legislature decided to let DNR personnel manage wildlife, that most of those passing such matter knew little of what they were voting on, and cared even less. Now HB 1585 seeks to give deer matters (seasons and bag limits) back to the self-same admitted dumbos (in such matters). This, in effect, would put the matter in the hands of constituents who just can’t stand deer . . .  to Hades with the years of education the wildlife manager own.

SPEARHEADS -- If you adhere to the army of mushroom hunters who eat spearheads, there is something you should be considering when you prepare them for the skillet.

As you may know, the so-called spearhead has several different pseudonyms, but whatever moniker you bestow on this mushroom it may be cautiously edible . . . and it may NOT.

The focal point for determining which is which can best be determined at what point the cap and stem are joined. Otherwise, they are pretty much the same.

I had my first-known encounter with these elements several years ago when I got home with a big sack of spearheads to find myself alone and hungry as the proverbial dog.

To rustle up some chow, I simply followed my procedures for morels (that includes spearheads), and cleaned them up with no other food. I would not go so far as to say they were poisonous, but shortly thereafter I found myself nervous and weak as a cat.

What I had done was pick a big sack of mostly Verpa bohemica, their scientific name, thinking they were Morchella elata, the true spearhead.

Morchella elata, of course, is edible, but not as good as the true morels, several species in number. Verpa bohemica, on the other hand, is a bit toxic for some people.

Actually, if one sticks to the true morels, the stalks of the two will be different . . . the morel stalk smooth and slick; the spearhead stalk being mealy. Both have hollow stems.

Still the manner in which caps and stalks are joined will tell the story.

Another of the Verpa clan you may find is the thimble mushroom, a cap with a smooth cap surface that reminds me of a soft-shell turtle’s back. It also is known as the bell morel and usually has a cap about one inch deep.

GREENUP TIME -- Travelling from Marion (Indianapolis) and Hamilton counties, you will notice that the spring is springing much faster as you go south, and slower as you go north.

The reality of the advancement of the seasons is not as obvious in winter months, when there often is a snow cover from north to south, but spring foliage points it out more graphically. 

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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