Mushroom hunter says Missouri’s morel season might be ‘epic’

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The forecast for this year’s morel season may be “epic,” KTVI reports.

Ron Cook, founder of the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page, tells the Springfield News-Leader this is going to be one of the more fruitful seasons in the last few years.

Many Midwesterners enjoy eating the fungus that can mostly be found in the forest during the spring. They come up annually in March and April.

Farming the elusive gourmet mushroom is difficult and may not yield any results. If you have a keen eye then you may be able to spot one in the woods.

Cook has developed a crowd-sourced map to help hunters find more Missouri morel mushrooms. Fans share pics of their confirmed finds to the Facebook page, and Cook helps map them.

The page also shares forecasts for hunting the mushrooms, which includes soil temperatures. It started as a project between friends and now the Facebook page has nearly 90,000 fans.

This is an example of one of their forecasts: “It appears to have been a fruitful weekend. The progression line is trending northerly at a nice pace. A low-pressure system will arrive this Thursday, bring cooler temperatures that will affect most of the state into next week. We expect this to halt the progression line and stunt the growth of what is above ground currently. It will have no overall effect on the season.”

Some wild mushrooms are poisonous. Check the Missouri Department of Conservation’s mushroom guide to help you determine what is safe to eat.

“Learn to enjoy Missouri’s wild mushrooms safely with our free new full-color, illustrated publication, A Guide to Missouri’s Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms. Get copies of each at MDC offices and nature centers around the state or email us at pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov with your full name, complete address, and name of publications to get yours in the mail (limited to Missouri residents). Here’s the link if you’d like to view online.”

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