How did Fungeyes get started? I get asked this question all the time. To put everything in context, I will start from the beginning when I would go hunting Morel’s when I was a kid.
The first time I saw a Morel mushroom was at the age of 7. I remember my Uncle Dan emerging from the woods with a 5-gallon bucket full of “brains,” as I called them. I was bursting with questions and begged to be taken along on his next trip. He agreed, but the next time, his bounty wasn’t nearly as fruitful. We didn’t find a single mushroom. I couldn’t understand. Why didn’t we just go back to the same place and fill up the bucket again, I thought? This frustration only intensified my early obsession with these elusive mushrooms. Over thirty years later, I’m still an avid hunter of Morel’s. To me, hunting Morel’s is both challenging and rewarding. It is an escape from the busy monotony of daily life. I cherish the opportunity to step back from my hectic life and enjoy peaceful time in nature. I’ve found happiness in the beautiful woods and the close-knit community of Morel hunters like myself.
Over the years, I’ve studied articles, asked locals, and done everything in my power to gain an advantage on my hunts. The first thing that everyone says is to study the trees. Talk about confusing! Ash, elms, slippery elms, American elms, locust, walnut—at times these all look identical to me. I’m sure my fellow Morel hunters will agree that tree identification is a huge problem. Very early, I learned to look down, not up, and study the ground to make sure I was in a soil habitat where mushrooms could flourish. My uncle was an incredible Morel hunter, and he taught me the following tip: think of Morel’s like human beings. Without oxygen, water, and food, we can’t survive. Just like us, Morels have specific needs. Trees are the food for Morels, but two other things come first. Without proper soil temperature, hunting Morel’s is hopeless. You’ll almost never find Morel’s in soil below 50 degrees or above 60 degrees. Most of my big hauls over the years have been from soil between 54 and 58 degrees. Secondly, Morel’s need moisture. If you don’t have proper temperature and moisture, there’s no need to look at a tree, because it’s a lost cause.
People have always asked me how I find so many mushrooms while they continue to struggle. I tell them all the same thing: look down, not up. Once you have proper soil temperature in the spring, keep your eyes down and find other mushrooms first. Morel’s grow where other mushrooms grow. Look for moss. Moss signals an area with lots of moisture. It doesn’t matter how perfect the tree is. If the microclimate surrounding it is dry with hard soil, you will never find a Morel.
As my harvests increased, so did the number of people who asked for my help. At first, I was hesitant since most morel hunters are so secretive about their spots. Over the years, though, I came to understand that this hobby is not just about claiming some special tree in some special place. It’s about joining a fantastic community of nature-lovers and mushroom enthusiasts. With this new understanding, I began to share my knowledge with others, which was incredibly rewarding. Hundreds of people found their first Morel by following my advice. Seeing their joy excites me more than finding my own Morels. This led me to challenge myself. I no longer look for Morels where I have found them before. While it may be easier to return to the same old hunting grounds, it’s far more satisfying to unlock new spots and better myself as a forager. Rather than preserving my secret spots, I show everyone where I have found Morels. I want our entire community of morel hunters to be successful.
Experienced Morel hunters say that for every Morel you find, you walk past 99 others. Countless times, I have missed a Morel that was in plain sight to someone else. Whether it be looking from different angles, small variations in our vision, or seeing at different levels, it’s just part of the challenge of hunting Morel’s. I spent years trying to solve this dilemma, and eventually I reached a breakthrough. For most people, Morels are easiest to spot in the early morning and the late evening, as opposed to sunny mid-day conditions. Although sunglasses can help block the light, they will not aid in making mushrooms appear more vivid against the green and brown backdrop. I knew colored-lens technology was the key. I have spent years perfecting a lens to enhance the appearance of a mushroom compared to its lush forest surroundings. After a long journey of research and development, Fungeyes finally took shape. When I was finished, the results spoke for themselves. Instead of finding hundreds of Morel’s each season, I started finding them by the thousands, always in new locations. My glasses utilize a unique blended-color lens to provide stunning and enhanced color perception of the forest floor. This technology allows you to see contours around objects more vividly and offers protection from reflective glare. The mushrooms jump off the forest floor as if they’ve been marked with a highlighter!
People think I am lying when I tell them of my massive hauls during Morel season. Cheating a little, maybe, but lying, no. As I began showing fellow mushroom hunters the lenses we had created, I got the same amazed response every time. Their excited requests for a pair of my glasses led me to the decision to bring Fungeyes to market and share my secret with mushroom hunters worldwide.
Enjoy the glasses. Good hunting.