A great article in USA Today – How to Find Morel Mushrooms in Ohio State Parks!!!
According to Ohio State University Extension, there are more than 2,000 kinds of wild mushrooms that grow in the state. Of these, the morel is one of the first that you can collect in spring. The morel, which is also called the sponge mushroom because of its spongy cap, are most abundant from the first part of April to the first part of May in many Ohio State Parks. You must take great care when hunting morels, because there are some poisonous mushrooms, such as the false morel, that grow in the same conditions and look similar.
ITEMS YOU WILL NEED
- Sturdy hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Hiking pants
- Walking stick
- Plastic freezer bag
Step 1Time your mushroom hunt for early spring when morel mushrooms are in season and weather conditions are right. Morels usually grow in moist conditions, just after the second deep spring rain. Another good seasonal indicator is that redbud trees produce tiny blooms during the same period that morels grow.
Step 2Wear clothing designed for damp wilderness hiking, including pants and socks that wick away moisture and sturdy hiking boots that will support your feet and prevent injury. You should also carry a hiking stick to help you maintain your balance. Morels typically grow on the side of a hill, so taking these precautions will help keep you warm as well as preventing falls, bruises, blisters and rashes that can be caused by wet conditions, clothing that rubs and badly fitting shoes. Additionally, the longer you are comfortable while you hike, the longer you will be able to hunt morels.
Step 3Plan to hunt during your first trip with a mushroom hunting society such as the Ohio Mushroom Society. The members of the society will be familiar with Ohio State Park regulations regarding mushrooms, as well as the best places to pick mushrooms. The members will also help you identify poisonous false morels.
Step 4Search hilly areas filled with tall tulip poplar trees for morel mushrooms. Morel mushrooms like to grow in damp leaf mold in areas of constant shade. Look for plants that thrive under the same conditions that morel mushrooms like. Some of these plants include moss and fiddlehead ferns.
Step 5Look for morel mushrooms on the south slope of a hillside in the earliest parts of April. By early May look for morels on the north slope of the hillside.
Step 6Pick any morels that you find by breaking them off at the base of the stem and putting them in a plastic freezer bag with a zip closure. Take this bag to a ranger or group leader for the morel club, if you are hunting with a group so that he can double check your finds so you haven’t accidentally picked a false morel.