ST. LOUIS — The Missouri morel mushroom hunting season is here. A Facebook group dedicated to the hobby tracks sightings of the elusive fungus. Morel mushrooms are now being spotted as far north as I-70 in Missouri. There are some reports of them in the St. Louis area.

A white morel mushroom, freshly harvested, is being held up for a closer look. Morels are a delicacy and hunting them in the spring time is a favorite family activity for many in rural Missouri.

“With warmer temperatures forecasted with chances of rain later this week, I have no doubts that we’ll be adding more counties along the I-70 line. We may even see a northern county or two sprinkle in, just as Ray County has,” states the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page.

How do you know when and where the mushrooms will pop up? Morels are difficult to farm, considered a delicacy, and can sell anywhere from $20-40 per pound. You will first want to get permission before hunting on anyone’s land.

“You need that high humidity during the afternoons,” mushroom hunter Randy Polley told WDAF-TV in 2020. “If you can get a high humidity pattern running with late night showers or early morning showers that creates that humidity where we’re talking about 50s at night and mid-70s during the day — if you can get that going, then they will start producing. It will be a very successful producing year.”

Morel mushroom hunting tips

Here are a few tips to help you narrow down good places to look for morel mushrooms in Missouri, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

  • Morels commonly appear after warm, moist spring weather with daytime temperatures in the low 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 50s.
  • South and west facing slopes are good sites to look for morels early in the season, with north and east slopes being better for later-season morel hunting.
  • Morels tend to favor tree species such as elms, ashes, cottonwoods, and even domesticated apples. Look around recently dead trees but beware of falling branches.
  • Areas disturbed by flooding, fire, or logging often produce loads of morels.
  • Morels peak when lilacs bloom!
  • Most public lands in Missouri allow the collecting of mushrooms for personal use, but always check the regulations before you collect to be sure.
  • The MDC said to remember these are just general guidelines and morels have been found growing in all sorts of locations and conditions.

Would you like to contribute to the efforts to spot Missouri morel mushrooms? Follow the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page and join the “Confirmed Finds” group.