Hunting Southern Oregon Morels Mushroom Hunting

Real Southern Oregon Morels Yummi!

Jackson County Morel News

March - Jacksonville Cemetery, Ruge Applegate area (Steep terrain), Gold Hill (Rock Point)

April - Butte Falls, Ob enchain, Ruge

May - Hyatt Lake

June - Howard Prairie

(APRIL) 2013

We recently found morels up around a clear cutting burn site on Ob enchain. I have a canister full of morels in my fridge right now. You can find pounds up around the dam in Applegate. East the terrain is not as steep as it is in Ruge and in the Applegate. Look for stems as the caps are camouflaged against the dark earth and forest litter.

Cow Flipper with Morels

Yes that is me.
Yes that is me.

Morels In Nature

Morel mushrooms are hard to find, they blend into the environment seamlessly and you need a good eye to spot them.
Morel mushrooms are hard to find, they blend into the environment seamlessly and you need a good eye to spot them.

Morels

My neighbors find with a cigarette pack to compare the size of the mushrooms.
My neighbors find with a cigarette pack to compare the size of the mushrooms.
Eating unknown mushrooms from the wild can be dangerous because many wild mushrooms are poisonous, they can make you very sick or even kill you. Use caution and never forage without someone who knows what they are looking for.
Eating unknown mushrooms from the wild can be dangerous because many wild mushrooms are poisonous, they can make you very sick or even kill you. Use caution and never forage without someone who knows what they are looking for.

Video on Hunting Morels

False Morels

These are examples of FALSE morels
These are examples of FALSE morels

SOMorel Forum

If you live in Southern Oregon and are interested in morel mushroom hunting or are an avid mushroom hunter please visit SoMorel forums. Where we talk about where to locate morel mushrooms and other mushrooms that grow in the wild, when the best times to hunt for local morel mushrooms are, and when to harvest other wild edibles like local wild asparagus in the local orchards and blackberries that grow locally all over. talking about times of the season and conditions that are best for hunting, weather conditions that are better for hunting and other factors such as wild life that can cause harm such as snakes, skunks, bears, and cougars that can affect hunting conditions, recent burn areas that are favorable for hunting, elevation changes for morel growth and seasonal weather changes that effect growing, and where to buy or sell the morel mushrooms.

Who Eats Morels?

Have you ever eatin a morel mushroom?

  • Yes, I eat them every year.
  • I'm scared to try one because they are ugly.
  • I tried one once but was not impressed.
  • No, I hate mushrooms.
See results without voting

Hunting the Wild Morel

Article By: Cow Flipper

The hunt is on here in Southern Oregon as Morels (Morchellas) are now popping up in the woods after a long drawn out winter. I've been out hunting them for two months and my bags have been close to empty until now at the end of May. I've seen hunters coming out of the hills with buckets full but to my dismay I'd only find a couple here and there with my family and friends. I would stumble into corals, false morels, and other species which are usually signs that morels are near but could not find them. Then this last weekend BOOM there they were all over the place! I was amazed as I came out of the mountains with pounds of mushrooms.

So what is it that draws people from off of their couches, out of their homes, and into the thickets of the woods to go and hunt for these elusive and ugly mushrooms? Well for me it is the joy of the hunt. You go off the beaten path and into the raw forest to hunt for them walking deer trails and stumbling over dead trees, half a foot deep leaf rot, and soft dark earth; ferns dot the forest and moss grows on everything creating an almost mythical feeling. You stumble across creeks and waterfalls, hollowed out tree tunnels, and some of natures awesome creatures.

When I am out in the woods like this I feel closer to nature then I ever have. trail hiking is cool but when you venture into the raw forest you really get to see what it must have been like for our ancestors trekking out into the unknown. It is amazing how beautiful nature can be and it really makes you want to protect it.

Then you find a morel and it really hits you, you are foraging and there is something in the recesses of our minds that remembers, a sort of primal exhilaration hits and you don't want to stop! It is one of the funnest hobbies I've ever had.

Hunting Tips and What to Do:

So you want to hunt morels, well you've got to know what to do and what to bring with you. Here I'll teach you what to do and how to locate them.

How To Find Them:

  • What to Look For - Finding morels seems like it would be easy, but it's not. That is why they call it hunting morels and not morel gathering. Morels blend into the environment, they can look like pine-cones, rocks, and deadwood in the forest. They pop up like little cones out of the ground and can be slanted domed shaped or pointed and they are hard to spot. You must look real close to find them. In some cases you can be standing right over them and never see them. Once you see one though you can pretty much tell there are more around in that area. They can grow alone or in clusters and they spawn in pretty much the same area. So if you find one you will find more. Look in clearings, and near the base of low trees, morels like shade... I've found them at the shadow line of trees in soft wet earth. Look under pine needles and in thickets of recently burned wood and dead trees. Morels grow on north facing slopes and at the snow line.
  • Weather - Morels pop up after fresh rains and a few days of sun. They like the warmth of the day and will pop up when the sun has been out after a nice fresh rain.
  • False Morels - Always go with someone experienced who knows what morels look like and can identify them easily. There are many dangerous look a-likes in the woods and they are deadly. There is no cure for mushroom poisoning so use caution. There is a picture in the hub to help you identify them. Morels have a hollow stem and connect under the head of the mushroom to the stock. If the stem is solid then the morel is a false morel. If the head is barely attached then it is a false morel. Dark bulbous heads without the spongy look of a morel are false and deadly mushrooms. Be careful out there because these fungus's can kill!

What to Bring:

  • Water - always have bottled water or a canting of fresh water with you. I keep bottles of water in the trunk of my vehicle as well.
  • Compass, Maps, or GPS - when out in the woods it is easy to get lost. Always bring a compass and have maps of the area you are in. With your eyes pinned to the ground you can get lost easily. The forest canopy can make it easy to get turned around and you can lose your bearings real fast. Know where you are and travel in a group of people. Knowing how to use a compass, having maps, or even better having a GPS can save your life.
  • Pocket Knife - A pocket knife to cut the morels from their stems. You cut them just below the base of the cap and leave the stock.
  • Mesh Bags - Mesh bags are great because they allow for morel spores to drop as you trek through the forest back to your vehicle. It also allows for the fungus to breath and not spoil like they do in buckets.
  • Long Sleeved Clothes, and Head Cover - Long sleeves are a good idea when out in the forest because of where morels grow in thickets and in deep brush. With all the nasty bugs like ticks and sharp sticks it is a good idea to remain covered. Wear boots or good footwear when out in the forest as well since you will be in heavy terrain.
  • Emergency Kit with Snake Bite Kit - Always have an emergency kit that you have in your vehicle and one that you carry with you. I have a backpack that I carry my emergency kit in. In the kit I have emergency blankets, a compass, maps, wound closure supplies, antiseptics, clean water, poison oak treatment, a snake-bite kit, mosquito spray, pepper spray, dry matches and lighters, an LED light, and a rope. I know that seems like an awful lot to carry but it really isn't, there is less than 10 pounds of material here and it could save a life. You can also bring energy bars which is a good idea if you are going to be in the woods for hours on end like I am, just remember to carry out your trash!
  • Mushroom Field Guide - Having one of these books can help you identify the types of mushrooms you come across. There are many different species and many of them grow wild in the woods. Having a field guide can help you find other mushrooms you may want to grab on your hunt! If it is your first time or you are not experienced and out alone for the first time hunting I recommend you use one of these guides for sure. Don't risk your life on getting the wrong kind of shroom!

Well according to my friends I could be killed for this but I am listing general places here in Southern Oregon where I have found morels. Morel hunting spots are like gold here and people guard their spots with dedication like they would a gold claim. I feel like this is sort of foolish since anyone can go on public land and pick morels. Me being a city-slicker in the country has them worried so I promised not to show the exact spots of where they are. But here I give a general area of where you will find them here in Southern Oregon.

Remember to be sparing and to minimize your impact on the environment here. Don't pull the morels from the ground, cut them at the base this will ensure a good harvest next season. Try to leave the area intact and undisturbed. Don't leave trash in the woods and respect mother nature. Respect private property and only hunt on public land.

General Area Morel Map of Southern Oregon

Here is a map of the general areas where I've hunted morels.
Here is a map of the general areas where I've hunted morels.
My take after one foraging trip into the woods
My take after one foraging trip into the woods

Soaking in Salt Water

To rid the morels of bugs you soak them in a lukewarm salt water mixture for 2 hours or overnight.
To rid the morels of bugs you soak them in a lukewarm salt water mixture for 2 hours or overnight.

Dehydrating Morels

Dehydrated morel mushrooms will keep for years if kept in a air-tight dry place.
Dehydrated morel mushrooms will keep for years if kept in a air-tight dry place.

What to do With Them After You Get Them

Well you've gotten some morels and now you want to know what you can do with them.

  • Selling Morels: Well if you are interested in selling these valued morsels then you can stop by a mushroom buyer. When morel season hits there are buyers from fancy restaurants that will buy your best morels. Morels are used in expensive meals like pasta dishes and in Asian food. Since they are a labor intensive food they fetch a high price. Look for morel prices in your area. If you plan to sell them then get a permit to gather and sell morels at the local BLM office.
  • Treating Your Morels: Morels should be rinsed clean and if not eaten right away placed into a refrigerator. I place mine in a bowl lined in paper towels and covered with paper towels when in the fridge. Bugs or mites may crawl out of the spongy tops of the shroom when cold and drop to the bottom of the bowl, this is why I cover them. To clean them of these pests take a bowl of warm water and mix salt into the water until it is dissolved. Places you mushrooms in the bowl overnight. All the bugs will have floated out into the water. Drain them into a colander and then rinse them under cold water. Then you can use them in your food.
  • Dehydrating Morels: If you have a dehydrator then you can dehydrate your morels and they will last for years. Place them into an air-tight bag or jar and put them away. When you want to use them place them in a bowl of water for a few hours and they will return to their original size. They lose some of their taste but are still great in your food. They are sold this way to consumers and I store mine this way. 

Well my friends I hope you enjoyed this hub and happy hunting.

More by this Author


Comments 26 comments

Captain Jimmy profile image

Captain Jimmy 6 years ago from WV

I wish I wasn't so far away, the seasons over her in WV and they were not to plentiful this year. Enjoy it while you can! MMM! floured and fried in butter!


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 6 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

Sorry about your poor season, maybe next year will be better Captain Jimmy. Good Luck!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I never heard of hunting for morels. Interesting hub.


abyrabit23 5 years ago

Once u go 4 the 1st time , it becomes a part of u . Every year i have the " Great Morel " dream , whether i have been thinking of them or not . The biggest one i ever picked was from the top 2 the foot was 12 inches tall. That was in John Day Oregon between LaGrande and Pendleton eastern Oregon . We also picked King Boletes there . Anyhoo ,it just gets in ur blood and it's a whole lot of fun !!!!!!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 5 years ago

Superb hub. Very educational. Ate it up. Debby


whoa 5 years ago

why would you post a map showing where you pick your morels! Hhhmmmm?! not the brightest are ya? Maybe I just have a different plan? Good luck to ya! I seem to need it!


JJ 5 years ago

why do i keep hearing about the north slopes in these posts but here in the cascades just west of you I find them south facing? good patches too! Im just out there trying to have fun so... Thnaks to all!


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 5 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

Whoa,

You must be the kind of person that believes in the first rule of Fight Club. How if it is your first time ever going out to find morels are you to do so without even an idea of where to look? The map is there (and if you look it isn't so detailed as to show people areas on a GPS of where I go) for the general public to get an idea of where to go. Most people are not so greedy and I hate to say it dense as to believe that they have a corner in the forest that only they know about where morels grow. Morels grow all over! They grow in more abundance in some places and that is what people call their spot but let me tell you I've been to THEIR SPOTS and they have been picked! Guess what... their spot was someone else's spot too! Concept and point, morels grow where ever morels grow. Unless you have mass property and a hundred acre woods or an orchard then guess what... You don't own a spot in the woods. :) Have a great day and yes GOOD LUCK to you, you do need it.


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 5 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

JJ,

Hey JJ I agree with you, morels are strange and they do grow on north and south facing slopes. The idea is that in winter the sun is more south and low so the moisture from rain and morning dew is kept more in the north facing side of hills. That's the idea at least. It can be that trees, obstructions, and other naturally occurring phenomena such as fauna can also produce this effect. The variations are so large that it is impossible to predict where they will be growing for sure. Burn areas, orchards, pine forests... the idea is that they grow in thick wooded areas usually popping after fresh rain, below the snow lines from lower elevations and then progressively as the season heats up higher and higher elevations. Have fun and Pray to the Morel King that you reap a great abundance.


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 5 years ago

Cow Flipper ~ I love this hubpages and will tell my friend about it. She was just reminiscing about her dad, who used to go morel hunting, and that it is now a lost art in her family. Blessings, Debby


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 5 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

Thanks Debby,

I hope your friend finds a way to share in his old hobby that it brings her blessings and peace. Thanks for the comments.


charlesspock profile image

charlesspock 5 years ago from Vermont

great hub, really enjoyed it. I love finding morels in the northeast. Selling morels is often just a matter of calling around to a few nice restaurants


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 5 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

Thanks charlesspock, yeah here they have stands set up on the side of the road. The Pacific Northwest has lots of Asian and Hispanic mushroom hunters that sell and go out in large groups, they scour entire mountainsides! There have even been times in the past where these groups have clashed physically. It hasn't happened in the past few years and I suspect many of these seasonal hunters have moved north to Washington and into northern Oregon. But the mushroom buyers are usually around from May to June here.


retired LEO/shroom picker 4 years ago

I have picked for over 18 years all over the state. Sometimes the besit picks I've had were in delivered decorative yard bark! As a cop, I recall one year where it got so crowded in the woods that Cambodians were involved in at least six shootings (of other Cambodians) in picking areas they feel they "own."


Mushroom chef 4 years ago

NEVER soak mushrooms in salt water or any water! Brush them off with a mushroom brush. I am a professional chef and a mushroom lover.


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 4 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

Ah wow, first time I've ever heard of a mushroom brush thanks Mushroom chef! :)


Mushroom rush 3 years ago

Cow Flipper, with the recent amazing weather, any luck so far this season? New picker so not sure what's the best time to go out and look.


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 3 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

I haven't been out yet. I had back surgery recently. It has been two years now since I really went and did it. I had heart surgery or what they call a quad or CABG x 4. But I am healing up and as soon as April hits, I will be up in the hills.

This weekend I am going to Jacksonville to hunt with my kids.


Koyanti 3 years ago

Thank you so much for your hunting tips. While I spent some time living in the greensprings and know lots of higher elevation spots the lower areas have always been elusive to me. Thanks to your site I came out of the woods with 5+ lbs today. Would have more but my legs were getting tired. Will go back soon so many baby ones seen as well. Oh and it certainly felt more like picking then hunting this time : D


Koyanti 3 years ago

Is anyone else having the epic year I have been? I seem to be getting 5lbs+ a trip everywhere in about 4 hours of searching... got some in the dryer more freezing and fridge is stuffed.


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 3 years ago from Southern Oregon Author

It has been a good year for mushrooms for sure. :)


hockey4three 3 years ago

I run into alot of people hunting morels and most dont know this but if you use a plastic bag or paper bag when gathering you dont spread the spores for next year. Use a type of netting kinda like a soccer ball bag just smaller scale. This way you will have spead the spores while walking around and even more will come up the next year!!!


JuneP 3 years ago

Thanks for all those site tips. I will try to check out Howard Prairie area soon. My daughter in law found some morels on a year old mulch outside her vegetable garden, near the river in White City. Other than those few, we didn't find any more, so I told my son to spread the wood ash from his pizza oven in some areas and maybe next year they would get more.


Samuel Barrett profile image

Samuel Barrett 2 years ago from Douglas County, Oregon

Nice Hub! I am moving up o Drain this winter from Central California ( Porcini country!!) and am excited to get some Morels, Hedgehogs, and Yellow foot chanterelles!


Dill 6 months ago

Thanks for the cemetary info applegate dam info etc... (you know exact spots and all) YOU ARE everything that is wrong with modern day foraging practices..


Cow Flipper profile image

Cow Flipper 6 months ago from Southern Oregon Author

Thanks Dill, it's always nice to know that people think they own the outdoors. If you read the information you'd see that I tell people to respect the areas they are hunting in. I go to Applegate, Howard Prarie. Hyatte Lake... Dude you see TONS of vehicles parked in the woods for people looking for mushrooms. You must be do this for money... Did you see that you need a permit to do that? I write about that as well. You act as if you are somehow entitled to be out there mushroom hunting. You do not have spots that are YOURS for keeping. If I am out in the woods and find mushrooms I do not have to suddenly freak out because this might be DILLS spot. Dude get over yourself and let go of your THIS IS MY SPOT attitude.

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