The coming of spring and warmer weather can mean several things to many people. In some regions, it signifies the beginning if the rainy season. For people like me, it is the beginning of the brutal springtime allergy season. For others, the arrival of spring means one thing and one thing only: mushroom hunting season.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. No, I’m not talking about psychedelic mushrooms. There will be no talking trees on this mushroom hunt. I am talking about Morel mushrooms! A traditional delicacy in French cuisine and enjoyed by many others throughout the world.
These mushrooms have become a multimillion-dollar industry in places such as the United States and Canada, Turkey, China, India, and Pakistan because they are so difficult to harvest. Morel mushrooms can now even be purchased from Wal-Mart's online platform, for an astronomical markup!
You may be wondering how to obtain this tasty delicacy, without paying hundreds of dollars. Well, I have good news for you! You can get outdoors and hunt them yourself! As I have never hunted for morels before I had to enlist the help of a fellow outdoor enthusiast, Blake, to give me some pointers on the top tips for finding morel mushrooms.
You can learn more by viewing our video here.
You can also see 5 Tips on Hunting Morel Mushrooms by Blake.
1. Dead Elm Trees
In general, you want to keep an eye out for light-colored, dead-looking trees. You know, the kind with the bark peeling off. Morels seem to really take off around dead Elm trees. If you can spot one of those, your chances of hitting the motherlode are quite high. For an in-depth explanation on spotting dead Elm trees, check out this video by Creatorwise.
2. South-facing hill
In the Northern Hemisphere, the Earth is tilted in such a way that the south side of hills receives more sunlight than the slopes on the Northern side. I could not find any hard data to back this up, but it is something I recall from my high school science classes. Please, fact-check me on that one, though.
3. Moderate soil moisture and temperature
Morels like moisture but they do not like being drowned by rainfall. When hunting for morels, you will want to typically stay a few feet away from any nearby creeks or water sources. Although, you do not want to be too far that the ground starts to get dry and dusty. Your optimal soil temperature is going to be around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. But really, who wants to constantly measure average soil temperature? (here’s a how-to guide if interested) We think you may be better off using the next tip as a guideline.
4. A few days of warmer weather (75 degrees Fahrenheit)
The optimal time to hunt morels is in the early Spring. Usually when there are a few warm days in a row, the morels will spring up. The recommended temperature for morel hunting is 3-4 days of 75 degrees Fahrenheit weather. Morels have been known to pop in the upper-60 to low-70 degree ranges, if other factors are optimal.
5. Plastic Bag or Knapsack
The last thing you want is to stumble across several pounds of mushrooms and not have a way to carry them back home with you. From experience, you can only carry a pound or so in your baseball cap or by making a pouch by pulling your shirt up, so bringing a few plastic bags is always a good idea.
As a summary, here is Blake’s method for hunting mushrooms in a perfect scenario:
“I like to go out in early Spring after we’ve had a few warm days in the 70-degree range. If we had some rainfall while the temperatures are heating up, this is even better as the mushrooms thrive on a little bit of moisture. Not too much, though. I’ll start at the bottom of a south-facing hill with my plastic bag in hand, sometimes my rucksack if I packed a lunch or frisbee or something. Sometimes you don’t find mushrooms and need a little pick-me-up to get you through the afternoon. As I move up the south-facing slope with my bag, I am walking very slowly. I’m looking at both the ground in front of me and the tree trunks. Just to see if I can spot some dead Elm trees. "
"When I come up on a dead tree I slowly circle the tree with my eyes on the ground. I start from the Southside and work my way up towards the North. Last time I went I stepped on a bunch of mushrooms and they were the only ones I found that day. So I definitely don’t want to make that mistake twice. In an ideal world, every tree that I search under has a few pounds of mushrooms growing beneath them, but that is hardly ever the case. Most times I go out mushroom hunting I’ll only find a small handful. Every once in awhile I get lucky and hit the motherlode."
“Those are the best days,” Blake admitted, with a soft smile and a nostalgic look in his eyes. “It reminds me of going out mushroom hunting with my dad."
"Those were the best days!" he reiterated. "When mom would fry up all the mushrooms Dad and I found that afternoon.”
Do you have any Morel Mushroom Hunting Tips or stories you’d like to share? Would you like to contribute other content to our blog? Let us know in the comments below, or reach out to us on social media. We’d be happy to discuss user-submitted content ideas. Hope you enjoyed!