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Spring mushroom-hunting season gets started

The spring mushroom-hunting season has begun as sharp-eyed souls head to the woods in search of morels and other tasty offerings.

Along with morels, the fungus among us each spring include boletus, shaggy mane and puff-ball mushrooms, but matsutake mushrooms are not in the mix.

Locally, mushroomers are already finding their quarry in the Rogue River and Gold Hill corridor while hunters in the Butte Falls area will start seeing mushrooms in a few weeks, says Dave Orban, special forest-products manager for the federal Bureau of Land Management's Butte Falls Resource Area.

Some of the best mushroom hunting will come in May in the Howard Prairie area, Orban says.

Also, mushroom hunters are starting to get out in force in Northern California, where the harvest has kicked in at the Goosenest Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest south of Klamath Falls.

Mushrooms tend to sprout their thickest in recently burned or logged forest land, Orban says.

Permits are required for mushroom harvest on federal lands.

BLM mushroom permits are now available, and a few have been sold recently, Orban says. They cost $10 a day, or $35 a week. Also, a six-month permit is available for $100.

The Klamath Forest is selling three types of permits. For $10, people can buy a permit that allows mushroom harvest on Forest Service lands for 10 non-consecutive days. For $50, people can buy a permit for 30 consecutive days of mushroom-hunting, while a seasonal permit costs $100.

On Forest Service lands, all spring mushroom-hunting permits expire July 31.

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There remains room for people interested in becoming part of one of the country's most successful local organizations raising money for wildlife and their habitat.

The Rogue Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation still has tickets remaining for its April 7 banquet and auction fund-raiser set for the Red Lion Hotel, 200 N. Riverside Ave, Medford.

Last year's banquet netted $157,000, keeping the chapter among the top 10 RMEF fundraisers in the country, Rogue chapter Chair Lou Budge says.

This year's banquet includes a raffle as well as silent and oral auctions. Items include several bronze artworks, firearms, fishing trips and an African safari.

Ticket packages begin at $125, which includes dinner, raffle tickets and a year membership in the RMEF, Budge says.

Tickets will not be available at the door, and chapter officials hope to have all their tickets sold by the middle of next week, Budge says.

For more information and to order tickets, telephone Budge at 779-6180.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.