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Morel Mushroom Hunting

Morel Mushroom season here in our part of Michigan is quickly coming to an end.  I am what I refer to as a total "green horn" when it comes to Morel mushroom hunting but it has been a very fun experience to learn how to do it and where to look and yes, eventually find them. 

Mushroom season in our area generally runs between late March and the end of May for the various varieties we have here depending on rainfall and temperatures.  Any of these factors can swing the timing in your area.  The black and gray varieties generally pop up earliest with the yellow or blonde types coming up in late April or early May through early June depending on conditions.  The early varieties tend to be smaller than the later varieties and they all have a distinct flavor that is of a "nutty" nature.  I found them to be quite delicious.  I have also heard that it's not a good idea to eat them with beer, but that seems to vary in opinion as well.  Best I can say after reading much material on wild mushrooms and eating them, is enter at your own risk.  Eat just a few at first to make sure you aren't going to have problems with eating them (from mild cramps to severe upset and diarrhea).  I didn't have ay problems but it just depends on you and your digestive system.

A common question for the beginner including myself is "how do I identify mushrooms?"  I would suggest reading up on the different types of Morel and other common mushrooms or finding an experienced hunter to help you identify the various types of morel mushrooms in the beginning and make sure you understand what you are looking for.  The "false Morels" can be very dangerous and you want to make sure you know what you are eating.  Morel mushrooms are hollow inside and the caps are attached all the way down the stem.  The False Morels, tend to have a cap only attached at the top.  I have talked with many experienced hunters at work and what I found is that their descriptions of where to look and where to find them is about the same.  The common theme is Elm trees, especially those with brambles in the area, sandy or loose loamy soils, moist areas (not wet) and lots of walking and looking and then some more walking and looking.  They can be found most every where so even though I would concentrate on areas as described, don't limit yourself to only these areas.  I have found however that areas with dense Oak or Pine trees (unless they are White pines) don't seem to support their growth at least around where I've been hunting..

Below I have placed some pictures from our latest Morel hunt this season and we found all sizes and shapes ranging from 2" - 6" in size.  It was a blast walking the woods in search of these tasty morsels.  I am now hooked and although I will be a novice for a while, I hope to keep increasing my knowledge as I go as to where to look, and maybe find a few "honey holes" along the way.  The best part of this activity is it's great for your health to get out in the woods and do some walking as the exercise won't hurt any of us, especially if your looking for outside activity in the spring.  I combine this with my love for digital picture taking and I'm great for the season!

  Written by: WM8C - May, 2006  Not for use without permission.








Pictures of some of the Morels we found on our last hike in the woods


All shapes and sizes

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