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Local Sports

OUTDOORS: Mushroom hunting a September highlight outdoors

This is a great time to be outside

During my squirrel hunting excursions, I ran upon a few puff balls. They are the first fungi to appear in woodlots across northern Illinois. Actually, right now they are very good eating.

They are fresh, pure white and are usually very small during first growth. After they get much larger, they are tough. After another week, they turn yellow and emit spores. In either case, they are not fit to eat.

Right after and many times during the same week, the pheasant mushroom appears. They are orange in color and have an appearance of a pheasant’s tail. They are also very good table fare if harvested when they are very young. As they get older and larger, they can still be eaten, but one must trim the mushroom about 4 -5 inches away from the stem. The flesh near the stem is very tough and doesn’t taste very good.

I did notice a few sheephead mushrooms just starting to appear near the base of some huge oak trees. These I save until the end of September, as they grow very large. They don’t get tough, and I have cut them well into October.

With any mushroom, they must be washed to clean any soil from the stems and gills. This also removes any critters, which are especially plentiful in the sheephead mushroom. I then slice them up and place them in freezer bags. They are very good with steak, or if you please just fried up by themselves.

This is a great time to be outdoors. The weather is comfortable. The fishing is great, and it’s a great time to squirrel hunt. The early goose season is in, so there are many things to do.

Many times the mushroom sack is heavier than the game bag.

Upcoming events

Laborers’ local Union 393 in Marseilles is sponsoring a Hunters Safety Course. The course will be held on September 12 and 22. Times are 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. on both days. This is a Natural Resource Course. Persons born on or after January 1, 1980, must have completed this class to purchase a hunting license. After completion, the graduate will receive a certificate card, an embroidered emblem and an orange hat.

Interested folks need to call the union hall at 815-795-2829.

La Salle County Pheasants Forever

The chapter is inviting all to a Sporting Clay Event. This will be held on September 22 at the Seneca Hunt Club. Check in times are 8:30 a.m. You must provide your own shotgun and shells. To pre-register, call Chuck Eiben at 815-488-1390.

Sandy Ford Sportsman’s Club

The club will be holding its 2019 Fall Chicken Dinner on September 21. Serving times are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hope to see many of you there.

Fishing report

The catfish are really hitting in deep water on the Illinois River. Catches of fish up to six pounds are very normal. White bass are also hitting, as well as drum. Fish deep and use live shad or minnows. Cooling action has been good for small channel cats.

Hunting report

Early goose hunters have done well on the Illinois River and farm ponds. Squirrel hunters are taking busy tails near mulberry trees and corn fields. 

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