Saturday, February 8, 2014


Oyster Mushrooms (c) 2012 HVI

I became aware of a couple new words in the past few months and thought that they could be appropriately shared here. Most new words I hear a derived either from the rampant drug culture or are made up in TV land. They don’t really matter much in the real world. First up is nemophily: the love of woodland scenery. The other is nemophillist: one who is fond of the forest; a haunter of the woods. I like those words. The forest is getting harder and harder to find in this area. Thankfully we have the Monongahela National Forest, State Forests and a few WMA’s. The large tracts of private land have become barren wastelands over the last couple of decades.
Self-imposed titles often do not mean the same thing to others as they mean to you. I do believe that we should give more thought to what we call ourselves and others. What is a mushroom hunter? I don’t know how many “mushroom hunters” I have run into over the years that have turned into morel hunters. To me, if you hunt morels for a couple of weeks in the spring; you are a morel hunter. A mushroom hunter would be someone who knows various species, knows when these species can normally be found and pursues mushrooms from spring until fall. The morel hunter could easily become a mushroom hunter if they wanted to. Who knows, the person they were just talking to may have been the one who could have provided help and enlightened them to more opportunities; if they would have only known. Personally, I would be mushroom poor if I only relied on morels for my fungi fix.
I would bet that you think of your neighbor who deer hunts a couple of days every year and spends the rest of his time watching hunting shows on TV as being an outdoorsman. I would beg to differ from that opinion. To me, the title of outdoorsman, woman or person belongs to one who has pursued various outdoor interests 365 days a year and has accumulated a vast knowledge base over that time period. My definition of outdoorsman would be the requirement to have knowledge in many fields. A true outdoorsman should be able to show you the difference between a Northern Red Oak and a Scarlet Oak. They would also know that the base of a Southern Red Oak leaf is shaped like a bell; as in “southern belle”. They follow the natural world through the year; each season brings new interests in the lifelong pursuit of knowledge.

He or she can show you the difference between song and fox sparrows can dig a perfect elbow set for mink and spot a gimmick from a mile away. They know the effects of wind and sun have on game animals and can grow a really nice garden. Our outdoorsman can read the current and visualize what is happening underwater. They have a vast knowledge of many things although they are not a certified expert at anything. But, the expert could probably learn a few new things. I would also be willing to bet that our outdoorsman is one of the other new words that has recently emerged. Yep they are probably a locavore, too. 
(c) 2011 HVI

This is MY column for the February 2014 print edition of Two-Lane Livin
(c) 2014 High Virginia Outdoors ALL PHOTOS (c) High Virginia Images ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


  1. Awesome post Randy! That's good to think about what we think of ourselves. When I'm not in school, I go outside and explore the woods everyday. I'm sure I only have a 1/3 of the knowledge that somebody like you has, but I enjoy learning about it and typically learn at least 1 new thing while I'm out. For example, over the past 2 years, while squirrel hunting, I've been kind of doing a trial and error with birds and squirrels. It seems like whenever birds are in decent groups in a tree or area, there are no squirrels around them, That definitely turned out true this year! Have you heard anything about that?

    1. I haven't squirrel hunted in years. We don't have any trees here anymore big enough to hold a squirrel up. What I see here in the frozen deer woods is that when one thing starts moving; everything starts moving. When I start seeing birds and squirrels, I know it is time to get into a good spot and be ready.