Truffle hunting

Smithsonian magazine interviews Charles Lefevre who is fanatical about truffles, mushrooms that sell for anywhere from $100 to $1500 a pound depending on the variety. Lefevre "hunts" truffles in Oregon and also sells trees inoculated with European truffles so farmers in the US can start their own truffle orchards. From the interview:
Why don't hunters here use pigs and dogs like they do in Europe?
Most of the hunting is done surreptitiously at night without [a landowner's] permission. If you're driving around with a pig, everyone knows what you're doing.

I've been hunting with dogs, and they're preferable. Any dog can find truffles, but dogs that love to work are best. Labs and poodles make great truffle dogs...

What's it take to be a good truffle hunter?
The principal personality trait required is the ability not to brag about it, because someone will follow you to your patch the next time you go.
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  1. I’ve heard that dogs are better than pigs, because pigs will always try to eat the truffles but dogs aren’t usually that interested in them. They get rewarded with a doggy treat and that’s what they want!

  2. “If you’re driving around with a pig, everyone knows what you’re doing.”

    … or they suspect something even worse.

  3. “sells trees inoculated with European truffles so farmers in the US can start their own truffle orchards”

    Maybe I’m totally wrong, but doesn’t this just smack of alien species being brought to a land where the trees might not be resistant to it? I’m not sure if truffles hurt the tree, but still…

  4. “Most of the hunting is done surreptitiously at night without [a landowner’s] permission. ”

    You are dealing here with trespassers and thieves.

    I suspect that our climate here in Colorado is an inauspicious one for truffles, which would be fortunate for Mr. Lefevre.Though it is not strictly legally permissible there is good precedent established here such that if I shoot and kill the son of a bitch while he is stealing something on my property I will probably not be prosecuted for it.

  5. The drawback of truffling with a pig is that the pig is drawn to the truffle because it identifies the scent as that of a sow in heat. So when a truffle is found, you have the job of separating an animal the size of a small tractor and in a sexual frenzy from the object of its affections.

    No wonder my neighbour uses a dog.

  6. “sells trees inoculated with European truffles so farmers in the US can start their own truffle orchards.”

    To my knowledge, whilst this has been attempted, no one has yet been successful.

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