a morel dilemma.

Schiller Woods, Illinois

Our fourth morel hunt, our best haul yet. We started early, broke for lunch at Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese mall, where we almost blew our entire tax rebates on cuddly-cute animal-shaped crackers. Over lunch, we checked our map and decided on the area marked “good.” That sounded promising.


After about an hour of traipsing around with little success, I stumbled upon a goldmine that had clearly been plundered by our deer-friends just a few days prior. We plucked a couple of half-chewed stemsWyatt Gaswick, team mycologist and fellow hunter. and split up mumbling about what could have been when it happened.

We were wrapping up, and I was poking around one more time, when scanning across some branches, I saw a flash of orange. It was so large that I thought it was either an awesome snake or the hugest morel EVER. I looked closer. Eyes. Ears. Fur.




This is what I saw:

I looked all around for the mother, expecting a good hoofing at any second, but there was not a deer within 100 yards. After a few minutes of staring and trying to communicate with the little one, I looked right into her eyes and thought, “Well, what’s it gonna be?” The fawn stood up on very wobbly legs, ambled over and started licking my knee. I crouched down, and she responded by getting all bitey:




Yea, it was pretty adorable. But here’s the dilemma: what was I going to do with her? (And how to explain to her that I had no milk?) What would you have done?




Here’s what Wyatt and I came up with: we tried herding some grazing deer to pick up their little one (maybe?). Wyatt led the fawn closer while I ran through the woods and flanked the adults. Then I slowly guided the larger deer toward the fawn. It worked for a time.


The plan called for Wyatt to back away from her so that the adults would come closer but she kept following him whenever he moved away, chirping or bleeting or whatever it is deers do. For a moment, the adults looked toward the sounds, but they did not move closer. We grew discouraged. There was nothing left to do. We made a joke about venison and morels. I am still wondering, what was the right thing to do?

In the end, we sheperded the fawn to a more central location on a deer path and left. We hoped that once it got dark and all the people were gone, the mother would pick her up. But, if anyone ever wants to see a pathetically sad video of a fawn receding into the distance, just come find me.


3 Responses to “a morel dilemma.”

  1. 1 poetloverrebelspy
    May 28, 2008 at 8:52 am

    You were making out with a deer? Cool!

    BTW, I think you mean “fawn,” not “doe.”

    P.S. Would you like this to be listed on Grinnell Bloggers? Shoot me an email if so.

  2. 2 Marie
    May 29, 2008 at 7:32 am


    this story makes me sad. even though the accompanying photos were lovely (of the morels and wee fawn).

    thanks for sharing tho…. x

  3. 3 Lulu
    May 31, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    omg. those photos are unreal. did you acutally go to the disney studios and not morel hunting?!

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