Mushroom hunting or magic mushroom collecting is a recreational activity of searching for mushroom in the wild, usually for eating. Actually, some people have considered it as a sport. Mushroom hunting typically involves trying to distinguish the type of mushrooms they have found and subsequently eating it. It could be a safe activity as long as you know how to distinguish the types of mushrooms. Most mushrooms are safe but some are indeed poisonous.
So how do you go into mushroom hunting? Don’t you just pack your bags and head to the woods and gather any mushroom?
Before you start, a warning is in order: magic mushrooms are amongst the hardest to find. Most of the species of magic mushrooms are part of the so called LBM. LBM in mushroom hunting parlance is little brown mushroom. LBM refer to a large number of small dull colored agaric species with very few distinguishable characteristics that can easily differentiate one from the other. Only seasoned mushroom hunters can distinguish them apart, but exact identification might require a microscope and a certain specialty in the subject. This is the main reason why you can’t eat everything you find. Only eat mushrooms that you have accurately identified 100%. Even experienced mushroom hunters commit mistakes.
The best preparation you can come up with is to prepare a book or journal of all the mushrooms you can encounter in the area. Mushrooms often have preferred habitat and season. If you are going to buy a book, be sure that it has a lot of pictures. The pictures should be accompanied by information about the mushroom to help you in identifying the mushroom. The information should include basics such as habitat, season, size of the mushroom cap and stalk and even description of the spore (to be used with a microscope).
But if you are a first timer, it is best for you to hire or be accompanied by an experienced mushroom hunter. Nothing beats the experience of an individual to any book you might have. An experienced mushroom hunter will know little subtleties of most mushrooms. Usually, there are only slight differences in color/tint or minor texture change that differentiate one mushroom from the other. That slight difference might mean good eating or death.
If possible, you could bring a high powered microscope when trying to identify mushrooms that are unfamiliar to you. This will be helpful if you are hunting for magic mushrooms. With the use of a microscope, you could see the difference in mushroom spore-prints and the size and shape of the actual spore.
It is not advised to start with magic mushrooms if you are a beginner. Magic mushrooms are part of a very hard to distinguish LBM. It is advisable to start with easily recognizable mushrooms to gain more experience. Then, you can move up in difficulty until you can identify the easy ones by sight. Try to collect a diverse number of mushrooms and you can identify mushrooms later in the comfort of your home. This will give you a lot of experience before you setup for hunting magic mushrooms.
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