Morel Mushroom Hunting in Michigan

By Denise Dawson, Girls Who Hike Michigan Ambassador

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I remember when I was young and my uncle would talk about his secret hunting spots. Finally, a few years ago I caught the bug to go morel mushroom hunting. I already enjoy spending time outside in the woods – why not look for the prized and mysterious morel mushroom. Everyone always talks about them in the spring time, everyone has their secret hunting spots and everyone always raves about how much they cost per pound. Some years these babies will go for $40/pound. For a MUSHROOM!! I honestly just wanted to see what the hype was about.  
I got the opportunity to seek out a new hunting spot with an experienced mushroom hunting friend one afternoon. And that is when it happened. I became addicted to hunting morel mushrooms. We only found a few that day, but we kept returning throughout the short season to hunt for more. I would have dreams at night that we would find tons of them. I would watch the weather to make sure it wasn’t getting too hot or too cold or too dry. I would rearrange my personal schedule to make sure I had time to get into the woods to find these mushrooms. I even went to a Morel Mushroom Festival! I found so many I got to the point that I didn’t want to eat them anymore, so I would give them away to family.  

Over the years we’ve moved and I’ve had to scout out new spots. I found a nice little honey hole last year. Right along the well-traveled North Country Trail. I remember when I first spotted a clump of morels near the trail head. I tried my best to not show my excitement so others nearby wouldn’t learn about ‘MY new spot’. But – I was pretty much jumping up and down and screaming with joy. Others nearby, were staring at me like I was some sort of crazy person.  

For an outsider mushroom hunting can seem daunting. I knew people were protective over their secret spots and certain people don’t like to share what they know about hunting morels. I was fortunate enough to have a friend willing to show me the ins and outs of mushroom hunting.

Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

- When the lilacs start to bloom – it’s time to start looking for morels.
- Bring a stick to move the ferns and low growing vegetation around. Morels like to grow underneath them.
- Wear bug repellant! Spring time in Michigan = mosquito outbreak.
- Ask an experienced mushroom hunting friend for some tips.
- Most importantly have fun!

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Denise is the Ambassador for our Michigan chapter. You can join her local meetups and discussions through the Michigan chapter by clicking here. To become a member of Girls Who Hike, click here.