As a kid, I loved when spring rolled around.
Not because I was new, it meant summer was around the corner or that the Easter Bunny was soon coming – it was because I knew it was mushroom hunting season.
Mushroom hunting was one of the only activities that my entire family did together. We hunted in our woods, at state parks, and pretty much anywhere else that looked like “a good spot.”
And every year, it was a race between myself and my two younger brothers to see which one of us kids would find the first mushroom.
(Sad truth: It was never me?)
As an adult, I still LOVE going to find morel mushrooms. While I like eating them, I think finding them is even more enjoyable.
If you’re new to the sport of mushroom hunting, here’s how to find morel mushrooms.
Know the Season in Your State
Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific date for the whole country to start seeing mushrooms. I live in Ohio and start looking each year around Easter at the very earliest and depending on the weather. However, after our Ohio season is over, my step-dad heads up to Michigan to find morel mushrooms there.
So, even though Ohio and Michigan are close, their season is still a little off.
You can do a quick Google or Facebook search to find the start of your morel season for your specific location. It should start somewhere between March and May.
Look Around These Types of Trees and on Hills
You can find morels in and around wooded areas.
While it’s kind of a mystery as to why morels grow where they do, there are certain trees they seem to prefer. Look for oak, elm, ash, and poplar trees.
You should always check around dying trees and tree stumps. (I always seem to find the biggest ones around tree stumps!)
Most commonly, you’ll find big patches of morels on hills—especially where there’s a good mixture of sun and shade.
Wait Until It’s Warm
Morels won’t start to grow until the ground begins to warm up. They prefer areas that have moisture but also sunlight.
So, if it’s still 30 degrees where you live, you’re not likely to find mushrooms just yet.
Once You See the First One, The Rest Become Easier to Spot
Finding a mushroom, especially in a heavily wooded area with leaves on the ground, can be challenging. I’ve hunted mushrooms for over two decades, and it’s still sometimes hard for me to spot that first one.
One thing I’ve found universally true is that after spotting the first one, you’re no longer “mushroom blind,” and they start popping out at you.
So, if you’re hunting with a group and others find them, ask them to find one and then give you a hint at where it’s at. Once you spot it, you’ll have better luck finding the next ones.
Wear Appropriate Clothing When Mushroom Hunting
One final tip – when you go mushroom hunting in the woods, wear proper attire. I highly recommend jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and closed-toe shoes. You may find yourself in some thick and thorny areas, so shorts or leggings won’t be appropriate.