Morel Spotting Tips

I had no clue what a morel was when I moved to Iowa. I'll be honest, I think I misspelled it every time I googled, "What is a morrrrrel?" Please give me a pass since I'm a newbie to this morel thing.

In order to make sure I fit in at the next morel spotting party, I gathered up some basic spotting information. Even if you're a beginner like me, you'll be able to fit in with some of this basic mushroom knowledge.

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 Where Do I Find Them?

The first rule of morel hunting is that you will most likely find these little guys outside (I know that's pretty obvious). They are common in North America and Europe, and are usually located in wooded areas.

Some common places to find this fungi include: close to dying trees, slope bases with some heavy ground cover, around tree stumps, and river bottoms.

How Do I Look For Them?

Some of the professionals recommend that you walk very slowly when you're out hunting. Even bring along a hiking stick so you can look over, under, and all around the nature floor for some morels.

Photo by Beth Macdonald on Unsplash
Photo by Beth Macdonald on Unsplash

When Can I Find Them?

As the seasoned pros know, this depends on where you are. For people in the southern part of Iowa, the morels will start popping up in mid-April. Northeastern Iowa most likely started to see a few pop up around that time, but the real feast will be in the beginning of May, according to this morel sightings map. Use this map to check up where some of your fellow morel spotters got lucky.

How Do I Harvest Them?

This is where I'd turn over the morel spotting keys to a pro, or at least someone who knows how to hold a knife properly. Professionals recommend using a sharp knife to cut the fungi just above the ground.

Do not try to pull the morel out.

In order to not disturb the ecosystem too much, you should cut them so that more of these mushrooms can grow in that ground in the future.


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