Morel hunting is a passion of mine. Over the years, it has become a tradition for me and my boys to head out in the hopes of bringing home a feast. Morel hunting is for the hopeful, but here are a few tips on where to find morel mushrooms to help you when you head out to find these (sometimes) elusive prey:

Hunt territory, not mushrooms

Morels like what they like. And what they like are trees, particularity rotting ones. Look for elms, ashes and apple trees… I once found an amazing crop near an old orchard. It’s still one of my favorite places to start each spring.

Hunt spring temperatures

This last weekend’s snowfall was not ideal for the mushroom hunter. Morels like ground temperature of about 55 degrees. Ideally daytime highs around 60 to 70 degrees and night time temps that hover 40-50 plus.

Hunt for humidity

A good spring rain can bring on the morels. They like the humidity and the warm, moist air. When the sun pops after a fresh rain keep your eyes open they can pop out of nowhere.

Hunt disturbed ground

Last year’s forest fire can be this year’s hotbed of morels. Areas that have been logged, where the soil has been loosened or anyplace where the ground has been disturbed by activity is a great place to start.

Hunt for one

Morels like the company of other morels. So if you find one, you will likely find others. Pay attention to the details of the spot, the trees, the ground cover. These are all clues you will need to find more.

Don’t get stuck hunting same spots over and over exclusively. Canopies change, conditions change, lots of things change. I challenge myself to find 3 new spots every year! I just log them into my phone and Bing Bing Bing!

And here are two of my personal morel mushroom hunting tips:

From one morel mushroom hunter to another: carry a mesh bag for your mushrooms. As you walk, you will be leaving behind the spores that will mean more mushrooms for you next year. Secondly, leave one or two behind: if you clear them out, they cannot make more. And hunting, for me, is about managing the herd and making sure there is enough for everyone.

What do you do after you fill your morel bag? You clean them and cook them of course! In this video I’ll give you some pointers on how to do just that.

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  • Tyson Rexroat

    Packed away 237 black morel mushrooms today.
    I leave 1 for ever 10 that I find. I hang a few on low limbs to disburse spores in the area as well. I’d like to think this is working. Some say they spore before they’re ever picked. I’m not sure. But it’s about management as well. Mesh bags are OK. But get yourself a cabbage basket, woven basket, or Creek cooler (Google it) concentrate on the micro climate that you’re finding them in. ( ie soil temp, Sun exposure, tree type, vegetation in the immediate area.) these are just a few, you get the idea.
    People say turkey’s eat them, personally I’ve seen turkey’s scratching around in the area and watched them avoid morels. And if you’re an avid hunter and checked the stomach content of a turkey, you won’t find morels. Same with deer, I’ve found a lot of mushrooms right smack dab in the deer path next to scat. Uneaten. So what have happened to the ones that the tips look nibbled off? I’ve come to the conclusion that this is from, 1.) frost. As I find this happening more when there has been a frost. 2.) from something like a leaf or stick contacting it as it pushes up thru the forestry litter as it emerges.killing the cells and it roots and falls off. 3.) it has scored. I’m starting to think the only thing in the forest that likes them is humans. =)
    Be mindful of land. Take what you’ll eat, and eat what you’ll take. PLEASE, Don’t litter, take anything out you brought in. Ask to hunt the land. It may NOT be posted, that’s not an open invite. Someone MIGHT be in there HUNTING, turkey, Or worse, mushrooms.
    I’d like to think I have the best method for finding them, assembled from wives tales, wise old-timers, studies, and hearsay. But the method I use is… Ready?
    Go in the woods and look! Look under trees, Ash, elm, poplar, sycamore, and Apple.
    What I do is, slowly walk into the woods to an area that “looks promising” . Looking up at the tree, I judge how big the canopy is/was. I look back down and start in a grid between me and said tree. And I cover the canopy area. (next part is important) picture an imaginary circle 10 to 12″ diameter and 5 to 10 ft out. Never work more than you can pick out detail. This might be only 8ft. Squat down, Neal, or even sit. Get close to them. Next maybe even more important clear your mind, yes this is probably hard. Your heart it is pumping, mind wondering, people calling, txting, you have your sack ready to fill with bounty. The boss, the bank, the bills, empty gas tank, whatever it may be.
    Clear it out. Get in the elements. Concentrate.. Breeze, bees, birds chirping, Creek trickling. Now! Back to the circle. Look and count. 1,2,3,4,5 don’t forget Mississippi! And move in a grid around THAT spot. No more that 12″ from that spot! By the time you count to 2 your eys are locked, 3 pupils are focused, 4 your eyes can distinguish detail, 5 you’re brain can now see if there’s a mushroom in that 12″ area. Might not be in the center, but you’re eyes have given all the info to the brain to process that circle. Your eyes rely on interpretation of things is seen before. It does this at thousands of times a second. That’s why it’s important to slow down and count and not shuffle your eyes around when you’re counting. 12345. Another reason is, if you scan the ground, detail is lost from over stimulation of the cones and rods in your retina. By my count using this method, I’ve found 35% more mushrooms.
    I hope this helps you as much as it has me. Feel free to pass this on. And teach the younger generations the same. If you find this useful, feel free to say “my buddy Tyson told me about this technique” thanks & good bless.
    _ Tyson Sean
    #SouthernIndianaMorels

    • Jack

      I like the idea of the mesh bag and have always used one. My reason for that was for air circulating and starting a drying so mold would not start. I guess there was a secondary good reason.
      My way of helping the promotion of new mushroom patches were to pick all but be selective in what I keep. If not firm or if any visible damage like the damaged tops mentioned or if dark would be kept separate from the keepers and broken up and spread in that area and in other areas where you’d typically find Morels. Not sure if this was proper but it seems prudent to keeping them going.