ST. LOUIS – Morel mushroom hunters are finding them more and more north as the season continues. Soil temperatures have gotten warmer and the fungus can now be found in northern portions of the state. Morel mushroom hunting season is in full swing. It usually starts in late March and goes until early May.

Most hunters won’t share the locations of their best hunting spots, but there are some Facebook groups dedicated to the pursuit. The Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page says morels begin fruiting when the soil reaches consistent temperatures above 50 degrees.

The page said on Monday that “another cold front will push in and possibly linger into next week. On a positive note, these lower temps will help keep ground vegetation down and should prolong the season.”

The map posted by the Facebook page on Monday shows just Missouri’s very top counties are without morel mushroom finds.

Before setting off into the forest, make sure you know how to correctly identify morels. Misidentifying and consuming toxic mushrooms can cause anything from mild stomach issues to organ failure or even death! There are several mushroom species in Missouri, including the big red false morel, which are considered toxic and not recommended for consumption. Consult with field guides or a professional mycologist to be completely confident in species identification before consuming any mushrooms.

Browse MDC’s mushroom field guide for photos of the more common and noticeable fungal species in Missouri. Click here for tasty recipes using Missouri’s wild mushrooms!

Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page will have another update on Wednesday.