Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5 Tips for Mushroom Hunting

Spring is a new beginning. In with the new and out with the old. But to a lot of avid mushroom hunters, it’s a very special time of year. Some mushroom Hunters travel hundreds of miles and spend many hours looking for morel mushrooms. When searching for these tasty forest dwelling morels of spring, keep in mind these five tips. They could add pounds to your pick.

Look in the right area

Mushrooms tend to grow more abundant in moist conditions. Particularly after a couple days of warm rain, I like to search open hardwoods that boast a good number of Ash trees. Some believe the morels prefer to grow next to Ash trees. I have no scientific evidence to prove that theory but it has worked in my favor more times than not. I more so believe that Morels and Ash trees just prefer the same soil content. Poplar trees are also morel magnets. This is not true in every case but some of my best spots to pick are in young poplar stands. Once again, this could be that the Morels and poplar trees prefer similar soil, moist and fast to warm in the spring.

Look on the south side of hills. Mushrooms like to grow where they are exposed to sunlight and wind. On the edge of hills, mushrooms have a good chance of receiving a decent amount of sun light while also being exposed to the wind which carries their spores. This is not a definitive rule, but more so a guide line when searching for a new area to pick.
Grid Search

Many mushroom hunters are guilty of wondering. Yes you will find mushrooms, but if you get into a good area, I urge hunters to grid search. Walk in a zig-zag pattern through the area. You will find more mushrooms when you cover an area completely rather than wandering aimlessly. This could be the difference between a couple pounds rather than a couple ounces.
Avoid Tunnel Vision
That moment when you see a mushroom fifteen feet or so away and you just start walking towards it. STOP! Walk slowly. Make that mushroom your heading. Take a good reference to where that mushroom is at and walk towards it slowly. Looking behind every tree and stump on your way to the mushroom you originally spotted. I’ve witnessed many hunters, including myself, walk past a hand full of well hidden mushrooms because they spotted one from afar.

Where there’s one there’s more

When you find one mushroom, stop and look around you.
Try looking from different angles before you move on. Try standing and then kneeling. There are usually more mushrooms when you find one. I can say this is true most of the time. I have trained my eyes, as you should too, to spot mushrooms from my peripherals. This means seeing other mushrooms around the mushroom you are engaged with. Like tunnel vision, we can get so focused on one mushroom that we fail to see others within inches from the one you’re picking.

Preserve the Shroom
This should come without saying, but we as mushroom hunters are one of the leading causes of reproduction for the Morel mushroom. That mesh bag that EVERYONE should be using helps spores drop from the bag and onto the ground. Also, when picking a mushroom, you should always pick the stem half way up. Mushrooms are fungus, if you remove them entirely and deny them the opportunity to reproduce, you will not allow that mushroom to grow again, or even reproduce. These tips will keep your hotspot reproducing for years to come.

 I hope this helps you in your mushroom hunting endeavors. Certainly there are many mushrooms to be had. It’s just a matter of finding them and also doing our part to make more.