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Truffle hunter Here is a rare job that manages to combine three of the things that make most humans very happy: dogs, food and nature. For anyone who despises the thought of being cooped up all day in an office under fluorescent lighting, the role of a truffle hunter may have major appeal. A job that dates back 4000 years and formerly the domain of the pig, truffle hunting is now mainly completed by dogs (mostly because dogs can be trained to find but not eat a truffle, while pigs are more likely to gobble it up on the spot). The talented canines find truffles both in the wild and on truffle farms that have miles and miles of truffles hidden under the earth. With this prized fungus fetching big prices in the food industry, truffle hunting can be quite lucrative for the human in charge of the dog. There are hundreds of different truffle varieties found around the world, so this type of work can be done wherever truffles grow – from Croatia to Italy, France, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the Unites States of America. All that truffle hunters require is a reasonable amount of fitness, a dog that has been trained to seek out the truffle scent, and a good understanding of what makes a good truffle (a rotten truffle is worthless and an unripened one won’t command a good price). A typical day for a truffle hunter involves going out into the wild or working on a farm where the trees have been inoculated with truffle spores in the off-season. Walking around in a methodical pattern with their dogs, truffle hunters encourage their canines to sniff out the treasures that lie hidden below. The dogs are rewarded with treats or a game of fetch for every truffle they unearth. At the end of the day, the truffle hunter takes their haul to be weighed and is paid the market rate, which fluctuates depending on demand.

Luckily, truffles have started to become incredibly popular on menus around the world, and prices have increased. Cha-ching! As seasonal work – the truffle season is limited to a few months of the year – many truffle hunters train their dogs to put their noses to work in other ways. From working at airports to detect contraband items within luggage, or with wildlife conservationists to locate rare species in the wild, truffle hunters can moonlight in the off-season if they wish. Alternatively, some can make enough money in one truffle season to sustain them for the entire year. Now that’s one hell of a truffle shuffle!

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: No formal education requirements are required to hunt truffles. Experience required: This is a learn-asyou-go type of job, so learning from an experienced truffle hunter would be a wise move to get your foot in the door. Training: On-the-job training is the most common way to get experience in truffle hunting. Dog handling and training courses would help with the dog management side of things, although this does come naturally to some. Restrictions: None. Although being reasonably fit would help.

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I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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