It’s almost here – April, my favorite month of the year with turkeys gobbling, fish spawning, mushrooms popping and nature coming alive. It’s a great time for the outdoor minded people.

It’s almost here – April, my favorite month of the year with turkeys gobbling, fish spawning, mushrooms popping and nature coming alive. It’s a great time for the outdoor minded people.

We remember last April that we finished the month by picking more than 50 nice morel mushrooms after taking two big gobblers and limits of big crappie.

This April holds lots of promise. Every year, on March 25, we usually find the first black morel and it happened again this year. Although it seemed a little early. After the big snow, I ventured into the woods where I usually find the first morel and was rewarded by finding a few small ones. It’s a great start of the season. All the while I was hunting morels, loons were sounding off on the lake as the big birds head north for the summer.

I know a person can get addicted to morel mushroom hunting and eating just like they can to turkey hunting and crappie fishing, and we are entering the time when all three will be hitting their peak.

Many people aren’t familiar with the black morels, but they are missing out on some tasty treats. The blacks are the first to appear along with the red or beefsteak mushrooms.

My first black morel had me a little concerned because I hadn’t seen them before, but several neighbors who had eaten them told me they taste just as good as the golden morels, so I tried them and was glad I did.

Those morels – along with black, golden and gray – are the most popular of all the wild mushrooms and for good reason. They are the easiest to identify, the safest to eat, and hunting them can be a healthy, natural and great family activity. It is like a treasure hunt, and you don’t need special equipment to hunt them.

Last week while visiting the post office, the clerk ask me if I had found any mushrooms. When I responded in the positive, she said she wouldn’t eat that fungi, but wouldn’t mind hunting for them.

It reminded me of an old friend I had who wanted to go morel hunting with me, so I took him along. We found lots of morels and when I returned to his home and handed him a sack of the morels, he said, “I don’t want any because they might make me sick, but I enjoyed hunting them.”

I was pleasantly surprised. He had found a bag full and gave them all to me. After that trip, every time I went mushroom hunting I would look him up to go along. It’s hard to find that kind of friend.

Tom Ingram of Blue Springs loves to find morels, too.

“One of the other good things about hunting mushrooms is that you don’t need a permit – at least not yet,” Ingram said.

Days before the cold and snow hit, I took my coffee early to the back porch to see if I could hear any turkeys gobbling. Just before sunrise, I heard a gobble in the distance followed by several others. Every time a crow would sound off, a tom would gobble. It was enough to get turkey hunting fever going.

The turkey population is in good shape in the state and the upcoming season that starts on April 19 should be another good one. On the weekend of April 10-11, the Missouri Youth Hunt will kick off the spring season as youngsters get the first crack at bagging a big tom.

Bob Jackson, a long time turkey hunter from Georgia, said, “You hunters in Missouri are getting spoiled. There are birds all across the state and some great hunting opportunities available. It’s enough to make me want to move to Missouri. I was out last fall and saw more turkeys than I ever did in Georgia, and we had lots of birds there.”

Then there’s the great spring fishing coming up. Already anglers have been bringing in some nice catches of crappie, bass, walleye and even some big bluegill. The white bass run is starting strong and will continue to improve. The crappie will be moving to the bank as the water warms, and that’s when many crappie anglers have a ball. This week, I saw eight boats in a small cove and most of the fishermen were catching crappie.

There are a lot of reasons to like fishing in April. You don’t have to go out early to catch fish. In fact, it might be best to wait until around 10 a.m. to start. Another thing is that you don’t have to be too picky in what lure you use. Just about any small jig will catch spawning crappie. The weather might be a little cool, but then you don’t have many bugs to annoy you.

It’s no wonder April is my favorite month of the year. With turkeys gobbling, mushrooms popping and fish hitting, it doesn’t get any better.