Mushrooming is a classic tradition in the Czech Republic this time of year… but don’t get lost! Photo Credit: Freepik

Czech Republic, Sept. 26 (BD) – The mushroom season is already in full swing. But the search for mushrooms can turn unpleasant, not only for the mushroom pickers themselves but also for their family members, when someone close to home strays or fails to return.

A mother of three underage children experienced this for two hours on Thursday, 15 September, around 6pm, when she took them to pick mushrooms in the forest near the village of Suchý. When it started to get dark and the children still hadn’t arrived home, she called the 158 hotline. The case was closed within half an hour of the call with the reunion of the whole family, when the young mushroom pickers returned home safely on their own.

A similar case also happened a week ago. This time, the police received a report that a family was missing their grandfather. The 76-year-old man went into the woods to pick mushrooms near the village of Ostrov near Macocha at around 6pm. When he did not return by 8:30 pm, the family contacted the police in concern. Again, there was no need for an extensive search; the missing grandfather was found safe at 9pm in the village of Senetářov.

In connection with the last two cases, which happened within one week, South Moravian police have appealed to mushroom pickers and other forest users to consider some recommendations. The police recommend that mushroom pickers inform someone about their intention to go mushroom picking, and stick to places that are well known to mushroom pickers. It is also important to carry a fully charged phone so that a lost person can call for help. Call the emergency number as soon as possible, not waiting until after dark, for example. 

When wandering, it is a good idea to find a landmark or orient oneself by a point in the landscape. The police can then work with forestry staff, who can use the landmark to locate the missing person. It is also worthwhile for mushroom hunters to use GPS personal locators—small devices that fit in your pocket. The locators have SOS buttons which send an SMS message to preset numbers with an SOS message and location of the sender. It is also recommended that mushroom pickers wear brightly coloured clothing, which can attract the attention of police officers during searches.

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