Have you ever asked someone, "where did you find those morel mushrooms?".Their response is usually something like "In the woods". Well of course they are not going to tell you their secret spot. Morels are difficult to find and that is one of the reasons they are a true treasure. When we find a motherload of morels it is truly magic! It rates right up there with bringing home a catch of a lifetime on your favorite fishing lake.
One of the other reasons we love to hunt morels is it marks that magical time of year. Spring! The woods are coming to life. We can get out there and enjoy the fresh breeze and a little sunshine after a long winter. However if you are a true Morel nut you pray for rain and a long cool spring. Where you live will determine when the morels will start to "pop". If you listen closely on a quiet evening you can actually hear them coming up! Pop! Pop! Pop!. Just kidding. Actually it's when the ground tempurature reaches 47 degrees F. For myself I like to do some pre season scouting just like I do when I deer hunt. And no mushrooms don't leave sign! It's just a chance to get out there and look for the right kinds of trees. This is important because if you get out there before the leaves come out you can spot the kinds of trees you are looking for from a long distance. You can even use a good set of binoculars to zoom in on a likely looking tree or group of trees.
Well what kinds of trees do morel mushrooms like to grow under? Well they like the kind that grow in the woods of course! But really, my favorite would be dead elm trees. If you see any elm mark that spot on your GPS if you have one. If not then mark a giant X on your "Treasure Map". Also seek out old fruit trees or old orchards. If you can find where the old edge of the orchard was, this is usually a good hot spot. Look for a straight row of large old trees back off the field a ways. Other good trees would be Ash, Black ash, Tulip Poplar, Sycamore, Cottonwood, and Fruit trees. Other hotspots can be burn areas, Pine, Lilac, even Oak trees. So get out your tree book and start studying!
Once you find a mushoom, STOP! Look carefully all around the area in at least a 100 foot circle. This will surely lead to finding more. Additionally if you mark the spot where you found the first one you can use that as a point of reference (try using a bright peice of clothing or trail marking tape). Don't forget to mark the spot on your GPS or your "Treasure Map". By the way a "Treasure Map" for morels can be a topo map or just a journal for notes. Even if you only find one or two make sure you mark the spot anyway. Next year there may be 10 or 20!
Safety first! If you are not sure what a Morel looks like take it to someone who knows like a friend or a local forest ranger. There are "false morels" out there that look similar. Carry water with you and a small pack with snacks, matches, first aid/survival kit and a packable jacket in case the weather turns. Even if you have a GPS always carry a magnetic type compass and a topo map with you as a back up. Tell someone where you are planing to go. It's fairly easy to get lost while walking along and staring at the ground for hours on end!!
Share Your Morel Hunting Tips Here ! Others Can Benefit Greatly From Your Experiences !
Send us an email with your tips and tricks to: