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Mushroom hunter plucks a monster By JOHN SHULTZ The Kansas City Star
It didn't register at first. A tree stump. Maybe a rock.
So Vernon Richards finished plucking the morel mushrooms growing around the oversized gray thing in a wooded patch near Ottawa, Kan., got up off his hands and knees and prepared to leave.
Then it hit him. The tree stump, the unidentified grounded object, was, indeed, a giant mushroom. One exponentially bigger than the puny-by-comparison morels Richards waits all year to hunt and eat.
"You see it, but you don't believe it," said Richards, 46. The avowed and avid morel hunter had reason to believe: a foot-tall, nearly 7-pound mushroom. "It set in about three seconds after I seen it."
It was the kind of discovery this week that has, well, folks who are into such things abuzz.
"When I first contacted people in my agency, they thought I was kidding," said Gene Fox with the Missouri Department of Conservation, which is helping investigate the record-breaking possibilities of what Richards unearthed.
"Everybody I told has paused or laughed when I told them," Fox said. "It was so far out of the (normal) ballpark that it wasn't even close."
For Richards, who runs an old sawmill, even if the mushroom is a rarer-than-rare giant morel, it's not his holy grail. He'll be back out mushroom hunting around his favorite Franklin County haunts the next chance he gets -- especially with the local morel season looking to end in mid-May.
"If it's a good season you can pull 40, 50, maybe 100 pounds," he said. "I haven't had much luck this season, because of the drought."
Until Monday night.
"It's something you don't see every day," said Richards, who likes to spend free time outdoors. "I've been in timber and woods every day, and I've never seen anything like that."
Man, i just can't help but fantasize. ONE 7 Pound Cubensis!?!? ....droool....
-------------------- Blas'?trid (bl?s tr?d)
n. 3rd generation derivitave of a combination of 'bastard' and 'blasted'. Used as both an insult or an expletive.
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