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
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
Morels In Nature
Video on Hunting Morels
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?
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Hunting the Wild Morel
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
Soaking in Salt Water
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.
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