Morel Mania and the $500 Mushroom

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You’ve probably tried buying mushrooms at a grocery store and quickly learned that nothing beats the culinary delight of morel mushrooms you find yourself. “Hunting” mushrooms is a hobby to some, but a passion to others, such that they travel out of state just like deer hunters. If you are hooked on the passion, check out the newsletter from Morel Mania and the details of a mushroom-hunting contest with a $500 first prize. The hunt is in the future, but it’s not too early to make plans.

Morel Mushrooms 1 147No doubt that for most of us the 2013 morel season was great even if it did get a late start. And it was certainly much better than the three prior years. What’s really strange is the comparison of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. We found our first morels in 2012 on March 22. In 2013 they appeared on May 1 – a full five weeks difference in the start of the seasons. Additionally, 2012 was, for the most part, very warm and dry. For most of us, it was over in two weeks. The season in Central Illinois is typically over by Mother’s Day. In 2013, with cooler and wetter weather – remember the floods?, We were still picking ten days after that.

Your season may have been different depending on how much further north or south of us you are and the amount of rainfall you received. The general rule-of-thumb is that the season moves north at the rate of 100 miles per week.


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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.

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