Morel Mushroom Hunting

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When to go
Morel mushroom hunting

When soil temperatures reach 50 degrees in the spring, Morels will begin to appear. Sadly, once soil temperatures hit 60 degrees, the season will be over. Depending on where you are located, early spring is the ideal time to begin searching.

In Pennsylvania, I have found them as early as March and as late as June. There is a common misconception that Morel season only lasts 2-3 weeks. This is not true. I have found Morels for periods of 10 weeks. It’s all about the microclimate. South and West facing slopes will warm up earlier in the year, while Northern and Eastern slopes will warm up later.

A soil thermometer is the best way to know for sure if the soil temperature in your foraging spot is conducive to growth. Should you find yourself in the woods without a thermometer, Mayapple wildflowers are nature’s soil thermometer. When they start to bloom, gray Morels should start showing. Blond Morels arrive when they are mid-bloom.

Typically, the season is over when Mayapples become fully erect. It is important to remember that soil temperatures vary greatly by location, even in areas that are just feet apart. Elevation, amount of sunlight, and moisture content all play a part in soil temperatures.

If you don’t have a soil thermometer or Mayapples, follow a generic rule of thumb: the season starts in spring once it’s time to mow the grass, and it ends when daytime temperatures reach 80 degrees.

Basket of Morel Mushrooms. A good day of hunting Morel's

Where to look
for Morel mushrooms

The pressing question: where to look for morels?

The first thing I can tell you is that Morels can be found anywhere, in the most unsuspected places. Veteran morel hunters can all tell stories where they searched long hours in their best spots, only to stumble upon a mushroom somewhere it shouldn’t have been. That’s what makes the morel so mysterious, yet so wonderful. With that said, there are certain areas to begin your search.

You want to find areas that are moist, but not soaking wet. Well-draining creek beds and lower elevations are great places to begin. The key is to understand that spores are only transferred in 3 ways: wind, water, or animals. Wind and water are the main methods of transport.

Starting in low-lying areas and near creek beds can increase your odds because water flows downhill. For the same reason, you should look for natural shelves on slopes since water may collect in such places.

Loamy soil is also important. Loam is a rich mixture of sand, silt, and clay. Loam rich in calcium or lime is excellent for morels. Identifying loamy soil is easy.

I like to use a walking stick with a point the size of my little finger. When you press down on the soil, it should take a little pressure and then break through the ground. Swampy, muddy soil is not conducive to morel growth, so if your stick presses into the soil like soup, it’s too wet.

If you must press with all your might, the ground is too hard. Once again, I must stress that I have found morels in rock-hard soil, and I have found them in the center of swamps, but these are rare occurrences.

Look down..

The most important thing is to focus on the ground! You want to find other mushrooms or moss. This will lead you to more morels than any tree expert could ever find. The trees are important, but not as important as the soil. Morels can be found in only a few soil conditions, but they can be found under and around many different types of trees.

Soil comes first, trees second. When it comes to the trees, look for dying trees. Rarely will you find Morels when a tree is completely dead to the point of losing its canopy and all its bark.

You need a complete tree with decaying bark still present. Finding an area with many downed trees is good. Slippery Elm trees seem to be the most consistent. For more information on trees, visit the Trees tab.

Another good place to look is recently disturbed ground. Turkeys, for example, love mushrooms, so if you see turkey scratchings on the ground, chances are there are some mushrooms in the area.

Other disturbances such as excavation, tree clearing, and burn areas are a great place to start, provided that the soil is appropriate for morels. Disturbances tend to disrupt the connection between the fungus and the roots of the host tree, causing greater fruiting.

I have also had a lot of success on vegetated islands. Since they are surrounded by flowing water, many morel spores can be deposited there. If an island has hardwoods and is only accessible by boat, you’ve found the perfect, secluded spot to hunt. Chances are, you’ll be the first to forage there! Finally, the people who say Morel hunting is all about luck are completely mistaken.

Understanding science, applying common sense, and putting yourself in the right areas will always make for a greater harvest. To fully maximize your haul, make sure you wear Fungeyes!

Wearing Fungeyes glasses makes Morel mushroom hunting much easier

Morel Hunting

With over 30 years of experience and thousands of morels found, I want to share some expert tips to ensure a fruitful harvest.

Wear Fungeyes

The greatest challenge in finding Morels is spotting them. They are extremely camouflaged in their natural setting. Our glasses are specifically designed to make the mushrooms stand out from their surrounding environment. Fungeyes will be your greatest tool. We guarantee it!

Keep your eyes on the ground, not the sky

This goes against what everyone else teaches, but those same people are the ones who ask me every year how I find so many morels. Do not obsess over the trees. Remember — Morels are just like people. We need oxygen, water, and food. In that order.

Think of soil temperature as Morels’ oxygen, moist loamy soil as their water, and the trees as their food. Between 50- and 60-degree soil means they can “breathe.” Moist soil means they can drink. The trees let them eat. You should always be looking at the ground during mushroom season. You’ll be surprised at how many you find in places they “shouldn’t be.”

I find that crouching down low helps by giving you a different perspective. I also like to crouch and look up slopes. Combined with Fungeyes, this will have you spotting tons of Morels you never would have seen otherwise. Try to find other mushrooms and moss, as well. The chances are high that Morels will be nearby,

Ask for help

Most Morel hunters are happy to share some tips and techniques. Nobody has all the answers, and the trees which feed the morels will vary by location. Have locals guide you in the right direction. If you own a lot of private land, ask someone to come forage with you. Most people will jump on the opportunity to forage new lands.

Go off the beaten path

Morel hunting has become extremely popular, meaning that easily accessible public lands are over-foraged. Try to forage in private areas, or head into the deepest parts of public game-lands and parks where most people won’t venture.

Put in the work

I typically hike several miles each time I go foraging. The more ground you cover, the more opportunities you have to spot Morels. Constantly be on the look-out for ideal microclimates.

Stop going to your same old spots

This is the critical step in finding large quantities of Morels. It makes you a better hunter. Believe it or not, someday your patches will stop producing. Challenge yourself and you will be rewarded.

Scout ahead of time

I think about Morels every time I am in the woods. I take note of low-lying areas, creek beds, and tree types. The more prepared you are in the off season, the better you’ll do once the season starts.

Don’t give up..

Just because you checked an area that looked promising and didn’t find anything, that doesn’t mean morels don’t grow there. Go back and check again. They may not have started growing yet. Be persistent.


It may seem strange, but looking at images of tree species and Morel’s online can train your brain to recognize them more easily. Do your research on trees so you can quickly and accurately identify them.

Utilize technology

If something helps you without hurting the environment, use it! The first mission is to hunt Morels with a clean, sustainable mindset.

Fungeyes may seem like cheating, but use them! They are sustainably produced, and they are guaranteed to boost your harvests. I also drop pins on my GPS every time I’m in a spot that I think is worth checking once the season arrives. Use your smartphones to track elevations where you find success.

Elevation plays a key role in microclimate, including soil temperature. Use the compass app on your phone to determine slope face direction. Use binoculars or a drone to cover more ground. Join social media groups and research as much as you can.

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Morel Mushroom hunting tips

About trees

Before I explain which trees are the best bets to maximize your harvest, I want to stress that you don’t have to be a tree expert to find morels. Before I became decent at tree identification, I still found thousands of morels simply by searching areas with moist, loamy soil surrounded by fallen timber.

If you follow this advice and wear Fungeyes, you will be successful, even if you’re lacking tree knowledge.

Why morels favor certain trees is a mystery. Nobody knows if it’s the soil or a symbiotic relationship, but one thing is for sure: there is definitely a relationship between morels and trees. What we do know is that the dying trees provide nutrients and cause the mushrooms to fruit. Therefore, an area with fallen trees is a good place to start.

Lightning strikes are also good start

If you are fortunate, you will find a living tree that has been struck by lightning or knocked over and split by a falling tree. This is the perfect scenario for morel foraging, since burnt or decomposing wood provides great food for morels. The best haul I’ve ever had was near a massive elm tree that was damaged by lightning, where I found over 1,000 mushrooms. It’s a day I will never forget.

On occasion you will find morels near a healthy, live tree. This is certainly the exception, but it adds to their mysteriousness. One thought is that spores make their way to such locations and are fed from lone dying branches or fallen bark.

Finding a lone Morel mushroom is quite frustrating and time consuming because you know there should be more nearby, yet there are none. Ideally, Morel’s can be found underneath dead trees or under trees that are just beginning to die.

Once a tree has completely lost its leaves and the bark from its base, you almost certainly won’t find any morels. Stick to trees that have decaying bark near the base of the tree and intact branches and leaves.

Dead trees in forest perfect habitat for finding Morel mushrooms

You found one!
Now what..

The joy of spotting-or should I say finally spotting

A Morel can be overwhelming. Stay calm! Most of the time, there are more around you, so stop right there in your tracks. Make sure each step you take is done with precision so as not to step on additional mushrooms. Once I have identified the immediate area, I like to do a few things.

First, I create a search pattern near my find. Slow down your search and look closely everywhere in at least a 50-foot radius. The next thing I do is analyze the conditions of the find. This includes everything from taking a soil temperature reading (or assessing Mayapple blossom stage) to noting the elevation and sun direction.

I consider elevation to be especially important. If I am finding Morels at 800 feet above sea level, I try to stay within a hundred feet of that elevation for the remainder of the day. The same goes for North or South facing slopes. Most importantly, I identify spore dispersal. Spores are mainly carried by wind or water, as well as animals.

You can’t control which direction animals carry spores, but you can use science to identify the other two factors of spore movement: wind and water. When I find a Morel, I analyze where the spores came from and where they are going. More morels are likely upwind or downwind from your find.

Wind generally blows from West to East, so I follow paths due East and due West. Water flows downhill, so I always follow a line uphill and downhill from my find, as well.

Patience. You will find Morels..

I have huge success year after year using these techniques. When I find a Morel, 99% of the time it’s just the start. There are almost always more upstream or downstream of water and wind flow. If you consider why you found it and where you found it, you will be rewarded with additional findings.

Once you have found your mushrooms, put them in a mesh bag or a basket with holes. They need ventilation. Mushrooms must have access to oxygen, or they will begin to decay. Try not to squish them or overload your bag or basket. This will be a great challenge while wearing Fungeyes because you will find more Morels than ever before!

For cleaning, I like to soak the whole mushrooms in heavily salted water for about 5 minutes, but no longer! This is plenty of time for bugs to leave the mushrooms. I then strain them and rinse with clean water. Next, I let them air dry overnight on my counter.

They do not need to immediately go into the refrigerator. Leave them on the counter overnight to finish drying and they will be perfect every time. The next day, I put them in a lidless container and place them in the refrigerator. You can store them for up to a week, but I prefer to eat them as quickly as possible.

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A perfect day of Morel mushroom hunting

of the trade..

Morel Hunting Necessities (In Order of Importance)

Our product alone will increase your yields exponentially! Guaranteed or your money back!

Mesh Bag

A bag is necessary to keep your harvest dry.

Comfortable Boots

Good boots make long days in the woods much more bearable. I suggest something that will protect from snake bites, as well.

Soil Thermometer

Soils at different altitudes and levels of sun exposure have different temperatures, so a thermometer is essential to find the best spots for morels.

Walking Stick

Not only will this make hiking easier, but by pressing it into the ground, you can easily determine the loam content and firmness of the soil. I prefer a headless golf club.


When extracting morels, I prefer clean cuts so as much dirt as possible is removed for easier cleaning.

Brush Pants and Shirts

To get to the most fruitful hunting grounds, it’s imperative to hike into the deep, thick forest where others won’t go. Proper clothing can help you avoid scratches, mosquito bites, poison ivy, and ticks.

Fungeyes Glasses with cork case and cleaning cloth - perfect for Morel mushroom hunting

about Morel mushrooms

There are plenty of myths about morels circulating the Internet. Many of these myths are quite old, yet they are entirely false. I’ll address just a few of them here.

Don’t eat morels and consume alcohol

Thankfully, this is nonsense. While morels do contain some toxins, none of these interact with alcohol in any adverse way. Feel free to celebrate with the beverage of your choice after a fruitful harvest wearing Fungeyes.

Pulling morels out of the ground hurts the patch

There have been many studies done around the world which indicate that harvest method has little or no impact on future production. Morels do not have roots. You can remove the mushrooms any way you’d like, and you won’t hurt the mycelia. I prefer to cut them for two reasons.

First, I don’t want to carry around the dirt that’s attached to their base. Second, I want other foragers to come across my cut stems. It helps to know that you were looking in the right place even if someone beat you to it.

Mesh bags spread spores

This is mostly false. I’m sure somewhere, somehow, over the course of time, a spore has indeed dropped out of a mesh bag and landed somewhere it wouldn’t have naturally. However, by the time you pick a morel, most of the spores have already been released.

The technical term for releasing spores is puffing. Any disturbance to the morel causes puffing. Using a mesh bag allows air to circulate around your harvest to keep them fresh.

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Myths about Morel mushrooms