Ask The Biologist

Just Ask Alice

Just Ask Alice

By Bob Humphrey

Have you ever wondered about the white mushrooms you see in the woods?

QUESTION: I’ve seen deer eating white mushrooms in the pine forest. Are those mushrooms good for human consumption? — Duane F.

ANSWER: I’m going to offer a vague answer. The reason is that some mushrooms are edible, while others are not. More important, some are deadly poisonous to humans. Let me repeat that: Some mushrooms are deadly poisonous to humans.

There are an estimated 10,000 different species of mushrooms in North America. As you provided no pictures or locations, it’s impossible to say whether your mushrooms are edible. My advice is to never eat a mushroom unless you know exactly what variety it is.

However, as you’ve hinted, deer absolutely love mushrooms. Some types occur regularly, but many only pop up at certain times of the year, or under certain conditions or specific habitats. For example, it’s common for mushrooms to pop up just after a good soaking rain, especially under a softwood canopy.

That can be good to keep in mind during hunting season, since such spots will draw deer during those perfect conditions. You’ll have to get on them quickly since the feeding frenzy won’t last.

— Recent Ask the Biologist Question:

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Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2020 by Buckmasters, Ltd