So, last week we talked about some popular questions about Morel Mushrooms, and now you’re ready for some quick morel mushrooms hunting for beginners.
Whether a novice, or a pro hunter, it’s helpful to show you some commongly held beliefs about finding morels.
Remember, that these tips are just suggestions, nothing is written in stone.You may as well find them in weird places you never even thought of and which might not be listed here. Nothing’s guaranteed, but the thrill of the hunt is what makes it all the more fun!
Below is a list of morel mushroom hunting tips I’ve compiled from experience and research . There are lots of different theories regarding these mushrooms. I’ve grouped together some of the main ones by time of year, habitat, environmental conditions, and etiquette/personal safety. For a more in-depth look at the practice of the sport, see this page.
Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips
Enough talk. Let’s learn the secrets of hunting morel mushrooms!
Time of Year
The shortest answer of all morel mushroom hunting early season tips: spring.
But, in reality “spring” varies.
Spring can be February and March for the West Coast and the Southern US. The Mild West sees the most fruitings between late March and early May.
The morels often fruit from late April to early june in the East Coast.
Some parts of Northern Western US and Canada will see fruitings into June. Other parts of th globe may see some at other times of the year, depending on when their spring is.
The most logic and working advice I can give you for time of the year is to start searching during the 2 months when spring is considered to be at its height in your area.
Although if you’re truly morel-obsessed there’s nothing stopping you from morel mushroom hunting for the four months around spring!
Some of the most helpful morel mushrooms hunting secrets deal with habitat.
Begin your search by looking near certain trees. Morels are thought to be mycorrhizal, meaning they form mutual relationships with the roots of trees.
Because of this, you must learn about the trees in your area. These are some trees believed to be favored by morels:
- Ash (particularly white ash)
- Apple (old ignored apple orchards that is, skip orchards that are very young and still used by man)
- Elm (dead or dying is best)
- Tulip (yes, there is a tree with this name!)
Another hunting secret is to look in areas of disturbed ground. Mycelia produce mushrooms in response to stress in the environment. So, morels are often found around:
- Areas disturbed in the past or disturbed now by water. Examples would be old flood plains, near washes, and near rivers.
- Burn sites. One of my favorite mushroom teachers told me “morels love a burn”. He’s right, as morels thrive on the nutrients that burned trees release back into the soil. Burn site morels are more common in the West, although it’s still worth checking brush/forest fire or burn pit areas the spring after they’ve happened.
- Old logging areas or places with lots of downed trees.
- Other places where man has disturbed the ground. Avoid areas that are overdeveloped or have been chemically treated. You don’t know what kind of toxins could be in the mushrooms you find.
Soil composition is another factor to consider. You may not know what’s in the soil in your area, so seek out the wisdom of a local amateur expert or a geologist (ask around at the nearest college). Morels are often discovered in these types of soil:
- Loamy – meaning a mixture of clay, sand, and decaying organic matter.
- Soil containing more lime or calcium. There’s so much granite where in some part in New Hampshire, you’ll often have better morel luck by crossing the border and looking for more calcified soil in Vermont.
More morel mushroom hunting tips lie in soil temperature, humidity, and air temperature. Morels are commonly found during these environmental conditions:
- After the first rain. All mushrooms need moisture, and the rain gives it to them.
- After the nights start to warm up. No colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit
- During the initial warm days and morning of spring.
Etiquette and Personal Safety
I would be a terrible person if I didn’t mention a couple of things about safety. While not morel mushroom hunting tips exactly, they’re on here in the hopes of guaranteeing you and the forest safety:
- Learn how to properly identify morels. There are poisonous false morel look-alikes that can make you sick, turn your belly or even kill. See this page on morel mushroom identification if you need help (includes a quick chart).
- When wild mushroom hunting, carry your finds in a mesh bag. Wild mushrooms spread through the dispersal of spores, and the more spores you allow them to drop the better the chances of more mushrooms in the future! Paper bags or baskets don’t allow spores to spread, so find something with large holes in it.
- Don’t pick every last one mushroom you come across. I know, it’s tempting. But leave a few so they can continue to drop spores and you and others can enjoy them for years to come.
- Do not litter. Mushroom hunters generally have too much respect for nature to do this but I have to mention it. It’s extremely disrespecting and disgusting behavior and you can be fined.
- Avoid asking someone directly on where to where to find morels. Any mushroom hunter worth his/her salt won’t tell you, and depending on where you are you may make some mush enemies!
- It’s easy like ABC to get lost in the woods, especially if you’re looking at the ground for mushrooms. Know your area, or carry a compass, map, and GPS if you don’t.
- Bring a friend. Don’t stray into the woods alone, and it never hurts to carry a pepper spray or mace. Think me paranoid? You’ll be glad you did if you have the extreme bad luck of running into an angry moose, an aggressive dog, a mother bear, or a mentally unstable human (most dangerous of all).
- Beware of ticks! Where I live in New England, Lyme disease is a growing problem. Always wear long pants, socks, and use some natural bug spray if you have it (DEET free please). Also check yourself when you come home and take a shower.
Morel Mushroom Hunting Map 2019
Michigan offers great morel mushroom hunting in the springtime. While you are out in the woods hunting, hiking or fishing, take a look around for these elusive yet delicious treats.
Large burn sites in forest areas are perfect for more mushroom hunting, especially in burned areas where jack, red or white pine once grew.
Grassy and other non-forest areas are not as likely to produce morels.
Michigan offers exceptional morel mushroom hunting in the springtime. While you are out in the woods hunting, fishing or hiking, take a look around for these delicious yet elusive treats.
A majority of the hot spots are Up North, but the DNR lists areas in Oakland and Washtenaw County as well.
12 Extra Morel Mushroom Hunting Secrets For Dummies
Are you a newbies and are excited with thoughts of filling baskets of morel mushrooms to overflow capacity? Is your tongue dancing at the thought of crunching these guys? Here are some tips to help you have a great mushroom harvest this year.
As far as it has been spotted growing in your country, morel mushrooms will show up where you live even if they haven’t. Are you ready? Here are ten super fats tips to help fuel your morel mushroom daydreams.
The temperature is just right
I’m not saying that morels are not mind decisive or anything, but they are little perfectionists. Keep an eyes on the temperature outside.
Morels like it when it begins to get around 60 degrees and above during the day, and night temperatures hover around 40 degrees.
Plus, get yourself a soil thermometer and check the temperature of the soil where you hunt. Morels start popping up when the earth gets between 45 degrees and 50 degrees.
The slope of the hill
Another morel mushroom hunting tips!
Morels pop up in the side of a hill that gets more sun than and before the other side. Check those south-facing slopes early in the season.
Know and Like your trees
Morels are quite a bit of tree huggers. Learn to identify the trees, with and without their leaves, that morels love to hang around and you’ll be more successful.
Ash, Elm, Poplar and apple trees are well known morel mushroom favorites. Search for dead and dying trees too. But bear in mind that morels also show up wherever they show up.
The lay of the land
Morels love loamy soil (like a lot). Loamy soil is what you might find in creek bottoms. It’s well-drained, moist but not wet, has a good mix of sand, clay, decaying matter, calcium and/or lime. But again, morels can appear wherever they appear. I’ve found them growing under pine trees or in gravel.
Disturbed ground is good ground
Logging areas and burn sites areas are often prime morel locations. Check online sources and maps for wildfires that occurred the past year in your area.
The Global Incident Map for forest fires is a site that tracks current and past wildfires. Pay attention to wooded areas that have been torn up by logging operations or large equipment. Morels like areas that have also been disturbed by flooding.
After a rain
A warm spring rain can be just the right missing ingredient for getting morels to show themselves. If the temperatures are right (see #1 above) and you get a nice rain, mark the following day on the calendar as “morel hunting” day.
Pack a lunch
Of course you can head out to hunt and harvest mushrooms, and then go right home to clean and cook them.
However, the best of days I and my friends have had hunting morels, whether I found mushrooms or not, have been the days we brought a light lunch to enjoy in the field.
Sitting down with your back to a tree, with a sandwich, a group of friends (or a company) and a thermos of hot tea or coffee, is a simple and fun pleasure not to be missed.
You might even pack a small camp stove, a tin of butter and pan to easily fry up a few morels right there. You’ll probably discover that they taste even better when eaten in the woods.
Tag along other tasty treats
Fiddleheads and Morels go together like chicken and chips. Keep an eye out for ostrich fern fiddleheads (not all fern fiddleheads are edible, so be sure to properly identify).
Ramps are also a spring delicacy. A basket full of morels, fiddleheads and ramps is a beauty to behold.
Take a Couple of pictures
A camera is a wonderful item to take along with you when foraging. These days most smart phones have high end cameras already included.
Photos are also a great way of sharing your outing and any other cool things you may see. Plus, you can post photos of other mushrooms you encounter on forums to see if they’re edible or not.
A small journal is another useful item to record your observations, and could be useful in planning future outings.
The ticks; watch out for Em’
You may not see any morels every time you hit the woods, but you can probably bet on a tick or a few coming to suck ya!
Lyme disease is not a disease you should take lightly. Dress for the hunt, use a tick repellent and be sure to give yourself a once-over when you get home.
Finally! here’s the best of the morel mushroom hunting tips that I can give:
Hope springs eternal. Don’t give up. Keep researching and looking. Most of all remember to have fun and enjoy nature! We hope you loved our Morel Mushroom hunting tips and guide with map 2019 included. Good luck, have fun, and good eating!