Hunting Morel Mushrooms is much like bow hunting Monster Bucks. It seems like some guys have all the luck or all of the best places to hunt. While I’m not claiming to be an expert, I have had some success and I have been hunting these treasures for as long as I could follow my parents into the woods. I’ll share some of my 45+ years of experience with you, but keep in mind, no 2 places are alike when it comes to Morel Hunting.
While I do have some favorite types of places to hunt Morels, they can be found just about anyplace or nowhere. If this doesn’t make sense to you, you’re obviously not a mushroom hunter. If there is one thing predictable about where to find them it is, there is no way to predict where to find them. With that being said, I like to start my search early to mid April in low lying moist areas, such as around ditches or creeks. They definitely need moist soils to grow. But during rainy years you can find them on higher ground as well. I have found them well into May some years, but many years the season only lasts a couple of weeks. Right now is prime time.
I found these one afternoon after turkey hunting. Part of 305 found in one weekend.
Here is a nice haul from a couple of years ago.
Once you have an area you think might produce Morels you need to figure out specifically where to look. They like to grow around the bases of trees, both alive and dead. Sometimes they even pop up around old stumps. Now what kind of trees do they grow around? Ask 10 mushroom hunters this question and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. When I was a kid and used to hunt with my parents, we had an old abandoned orchard near our house. The Morels would pop up around the old fruit trees in the middle of the woods. We would also find them around sycamore trees. If the tree was dead it seemed it would produce more mushrooms. We didn’t have many elm trees in the woods at home but we would also find some around the elm trees, both live and dead ones. Since I purchased my property a few years ago, it has turned into a Morel factory. I have never found them anywhere else in the numbers I find them on my farm. The key on my property is live elm trees. If you see an elm tree you better look around it, because there is a great chance that there will be Morels popping up sometime during the spring. While they seem to be somewhat predictable on my farm, you still never know if there will be 1 or 2 around any given elm tree or 20-30 like I have found on occasion. That’s when it really gets to be fun. If you don’t have any of these trees on your property don’t get too discouraged. I know guys who find them around oak, cottonwood, maple, poplar, and hackberry trees.
With all of the rain this year, I'm finding more Mushrooms on higher ground than usual.
You don't find bunches like this very often.
I think they actually pop up when you turn your back on them.
Now that you have an idea where to look, don’t plan on finding them in exactly the same location every year. Many times they do show up for a few years and then one year you go to your honey hole and there isn’t a mushroom to be found all season. But on the other hand, you may have never seen a Morel growing in an area before and walk by it one year and they are popping up everywhere. I guess this is why they have never figured out how to grow them commercially.
When you finally do find your first Morel, stop and look around. More times than not, but not always, there will be more of them around. They seem to like company. If you find one there will probably be more growing close by. I have found as many as 40 growing within arms distance in a couple of locations. But that is like killing a Boooner, it doesn’t happen very often.
My best day of "Shrooming" ever. I found 244 mushrooms in about 3 hours of hunting. It doesn't get much better than that.
Now that you have an idea of where to find these tasty morsels, get out in the woods after your turkey hunt or fishing trip and go mushroom hunting. It’s great exercise and they do taste great when breaded and fried up in a pan.
Now that makes my mouth water!!
Just remember, when your talking to another mushroom hunter and he says always or never, he’s lying. Nothing about mushrooms is always or never. It’s almost as hard to predict where to find them as it is to predict where to find that big buck in bow season.