Chapter 6: The Morel Hunters Who Got Shot by the Police

One April morning in Union County, Illinois, morel hunters Jim Selinger and Mart Clutts got shot by the police.

It’s not what you think. Selinger and Clutts were hunting for morel mushrooms on private property with permission from the landowner. A few dozen yards away, at the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, an off-duty Illinois state trooper was hunting for wild turkeys. There was a mistake made.

At 7:15 a.m., Selinger and Clutts got blasted by the off-duty trooper’s shotgun, and then once again. They were knocked flat. Both were bleeding and loaded with puncture wounds. Selinger is now deaf in one ear. A pellet ruptured his eardrum.

Yet the morel hunters survived.

Not every morel story you read has a happy ending.

But this one does: Selinger and Clutts continue to hunt for morels each spring in Illinois, very glad to be alive, which is what anyone who is able to hike in a spring forest should realize.

Of course, these morel hunters now wear an even brighter outlook.

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