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Morel Mushroom Hunting

Updated on March 23, 2016

The treasured yellow morel aka sponge mushroom

How when and where to hunt for morel mushrooms

Mushrooms are a fungi not a plant. There are many different species of mushrooms and many are poisonous. The morel aka sponge mushroom is the most popular mushroom for hunting. The mushroom referenced to in this article is the morel species.

Hunting for mushrooms in the wild is a yearly tradition. Every Spring friends and family begin talking in those familiar phrases "It's almost time to go shrooming" "I can't wait to go shrooming" "Hope this is gonna be a good year for shrooming" "We're gonna find a lot of shrooms this year" "Boy I've got a taste for some of those good sponge shrooms".

Sometimes, the avid shroomers return from the woods with their brown paper bags filled with the treasured sponge morels. Other times, they return with just a few or none at all. My own experiences at shrooming haven't been good. I've hunted the woods for hours and found a few one time. This year the 2011 shrooming season is going to be a good one!

The season for hunting morels begins mid to late April until June. Lasting for approximately 6 weeks. The end of Spring and the beginning of Summer weather conditions, are ideal for hunting morels. Time periods varie depending on the area where your hunting and the temperatures outside.

Temperatures and climate conditions determine how many morel sponges will pop out and how big they will be. Temperature ranges at night of 60-70F to no lower than 40F in the morning. The soil temperatures should be around 50F. I've been told that a warm night about 70F with rain that causes an early morning muggy type environment, is when shrooms pop out of the ground overnight like magic! On a muggy May morning around 6:00 A.M or earlier it's time to grab a brown paper bag and a sturdy walking stick and head out to the woods. The early bird finds the shrooms.

Where do the morel sponge mushrooms grow? Morels grow in abundance in Il, IND and MI parks and wooded areas.The yellow and grayish colored morel sponges are found along the IL, IND state line border.The yellow and grey sponge morels are often found under or near large maple and elm trees. Look for big old maple or elm trees that have moss growing over the roots, the shrooms pop up out of the moss. Check for wild may weeds and look under them or anywhere there is some moss growing. Those are said to be the best places to look for sponge morels.

Mesick, MI mushroom capital in the US. The area with the best places to find morel mushrooms. Mushrooms grow in the Great Lakes Region like oranges grow in FL

A markerMesick Lions Mushroom Festival, 6424 N M 37, Mesick, MI 49668, USA -
Mesick Lions Mushroom Festival, 6424 N M 37, Mesick, MI 49668, USA
get directions

The IL IN state line border is a popular area for mushroom hunting.

IL mushroom hunter gives a mushroom hunting tip report.

Over the past few years, I have started hunting the fall mushrooms, also. The Oyster Shells are the best tasting and easiest to find, although this year was way too dry and when we did get rain, it was too late and a freeze soon after stopped them from growing. Sometimes, I find them in the summer too, but the nighttime temps have to be in the upper 40s and foggy. During the spring, right before the morels start, you can find oysters growing... there are 2 varieties, brown and white. they grow in clumps of up to 3 feet across, so most of the time, if you find some its more than a few!

Cleaning morel mushrooms

To remove dirt and bugs. Rinse mushrooms in cold water, then cut lengthwise and rinse again. Soak overnight in refrigerator in a glass container with a pinch of salt. If you want to dry the mushrooms before cooking place them in a bowl covered with cloth for a couple hours.

Cooking Morels

Mushrooms are nutritious and low in calories, fat free and a great source of vitamin B and potassium. The healthy way to cook your morels would be to sauté them with a little olive oil in a non stick fry pan. Another way to cook morels is to dip them in eggs then cover with flour, salt and pepper. Fry them in butter! However you decide to cook and serve your shrooms above all else ENJOY them! After all that hunting around you will definitely deserve the best!!

Arkansas mushroom hunter gives a mushroom hunting tip report.

Lots of mushrooms in Arkansas but no sponge. Sponge grow up north in the oaks and hickory trees, here we have pine and cedar trees. Morels is the real name for sponge mushrooms, they are yellow, black, and some are grey colored, good hunting. The last of march or early april is the best time up there to find them they grow everywhere. Sponge mushrooms are delicious and safe to eat. There are not many poison mushrooms up there but don't take a chance is the best rule. If you don't know what you are picking then don't eat it. Go with someone that knows what to look for and study about them as much as you can.


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    • profile image

      Kelly 3 years ago

      Going today

    • donnatru profile image

      Donna 7 years ago from Danville, IL

      Reply to both comments

      Safety first just try a small bite at first one never knows how they might react even with the non poisonous ones.

      Thank you it's good to know the hub has all the necessary questions answered. The positive comment is like a reward for the time consuming research!

    • quotations profile image

      Robert P 7 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for this information. There are a few morel mushrooms where I live and I have been interested in trying them. This hub answers all my questions about morels.

    • Lisa HW profile image

      Lisa HW 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      My family and I love mushrooms, and a friend goes out and finds her own. I don't know, though... I can't overcome the concern that I'd poison myself, though. LOL