Rabbit Tracks: ‘A Modest Proposal’ for rooting out morel mushrooms in Ray County

By Bob Smith, RHS Class of ‘57

I am sure many of you are familiar with Johnathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” the author’s plan for solving the population problem in Ireland.
My proposal is not as serious.  It is a proposal or idea for finding morel mushrooms.
The Richmond News recently published a limerick I wrote about mushrooms.  I mentioned truffles in my limerick (truffles are actually a rare and expensive fungi that grows underground near certain trees in Europe, notably Italy and France).
Truffles are worth mega-bucks.  A 2-pound truffle is worth thousands of dollars. Now do I have your attention?
When they hunt truffles in Europe, they are deadly serious.  People use pigs to sniff out the truffles.  The pigs are muzzled so that they won’t eat what they find.  They also use only female pigs because truffles give off an odor similar to male pigs’ natural sex hormones.
What is the moral of my story?  Since a lot of pigs were once raised in Ray County, maybe some enterprising farmers could train a pig to help them hunt for mushrooms just like hunters train dogs to help hunt quail, pheasants, coons and rabbits.
Feed the pigs a few morels and see if they like them. If so, put a strong leash and a muzzle on them and then go hunting.
Hell fire, it just might work! Let the editor know and he will pass the news on to me.

If you have a reaction to Rabbit’s Modest Proposal, send it to us at, drop it at the office or attach a note to your trained pig and have him deliver it.

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