Tips for spring morel hunting in southwest Oregon
- Morels will grow singularly from the soil, have a characteristic conical pitted cap, and can be a creamy white color ranging to a dark brown-black.
- The stalk of the mushroom should be entirely hollow if you cut it open length-wise.
- Reference morels and other mushrooms in a field guide, or join one of our forays with local expert (see below).
Learn the conditions and habitat that morels love:
- Wait for the spring time – the wonderful thing about southern Oregon in regard to morels, is that there is an appropriate elevation for morels every month between April and July. Morels likes nighttime temperatures around 40 degrees F., and daytime temperatures around 60 degrees F. Prime morel hunting time will be 3-6 days after a warm rain.
- Learn to identify trees that morels love. Elm, ash, poplar and apple trees are well-known morel mushroom favorites. Look for open forest canopies, and snags or down logs too.
- Morels like sandy, loamy, and well-drained soils. Loamy soil is what you might find in creek-sides. They tend to like disturbed soils as well, including recently burned forests, roadsides, and even flooded areas.
- For weather: bring plenty of gear for your outing; appropriate clothing, footwear, water, snacks
- For navigation: make sure to tell someone where you are going, and bring a map and compass – it is easy to get lost when you are looking at the ground!
- To collect: a pocket knife for cutting the stalk (stipe) of the mushroom. This helps keep dirt out of your bounty, and helps leave a bit of mushroom material behind for regeneration.
- To contain: baskets are handy and practical mushroom collecting containers. The keep mushrooms well, and also allow for spores to continue dispersing on the forest floor as you walk. Another great option is this specialized Spore Spreader bag.
Be a morel hunter of high morals! Tread lightly on the land and respect the mushroom hunting community:
- Know the rules and regulations of the land management that you plan to visit. Please respect private property or check with BLM, Forest Service before visiting your public lands.
- When you find a patch of morels, leave a few to remain as wildlife food and to help regenerate the mushroom population for years to come.
- If you see fellow mushroom hunters in the woods, give them space and be courteous.
- Leave no trace – remember to pack out everything that you brought with you, and collect any trash that you find.
- If you see suspicious activity such as illegal shooting, trash dumping, off-highway vehicles being driven off of appropriate trails, make sure to keep distance, record any possible license plates, and report to your local BLM or Forest Service office.
Come morel hunting with the Northwest Nature Shop:
Join us for a foray in the woods, these easy-moderate walks are great for families and individuals looking to connect with other nature-loving friends. Come learn about mushroom foraging, best practices for sustainable harvest wild mushrooms, and the diversity of spring-fruiting fungi!
Four dates to choose from: Saturday May 12, Sunday May 20, Saturday May 26 and a kid-friendly Family Mushroom Foray on Saturday June 2nd. We’ll meet at NW Nature Shop at 9 am, then carpool to our destination (approx 45 min) and then spend the day identifying all mushrooms but just collecting the edible ones. Bring a lunch, water, wear good walking shoes – we’ll be walking approx 3 miles on uneven terrain. We will return to Ashland around 3 pm.
Guided Mushroom Forays:
Family foray is $50/family.
RSVP today, these trips fill fast! 541-482-3241