Another Sub-Par Year for Indiana Mushrooms

Weather extremes could make for a tough year for morels.

Published on: May 1, 2007

Reports circulating around the Internet claim someone has finally discovered how to grow wild morels from scratch. The information even talks about what type of trees the morels should be planted under. But it also makes a pitch for funding near the end. Tread there at your own risk.

Until someone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can seed mushrooms and then stand there and harvest them the next spring, hunting wild mushrooms will remain one of the great sports of the Hoosier countryside. Even if you could grow morels by planting them like you plant corn or soybeans, who would want to do so? Where's the challenge and the fun in that? Half the fun is the friendship fellow hunters build up as they tramp through the woods together, looking the most elusive of God's creatures. Finding them where you planted them under a tree would be akin to shooting Bambi in a state park. That's been tried at least once in Indiana, and it went over about as well as a lead balloon could fly.

Anyway, down to business. Until someone reports otherwise, it appears that this spring is another tough year for mushroom hunters. Soemone likely will report otherwise, but it's up to you as to whether you believe them when they do. If they don't disclose their location, their story might be more believable.

Sources in southwest Indiana, usually one of the hot spots for mushroom hunting, claim it was too cool and m, believe it or not, too dry there for mushrooms during much of April. Normally, somewhere around mid-April is prime hunting time in places such as Gibson and Pike Counties. The old, abandoned strip mines form the '20as and '30s in Pike County once made good hunting land, but recently new owners of much of the territory have become much more serious about posting and enforcing no trespassing laws. Even avid mushroom hunters must weigh the glee of finding the elusive morel vs. a run-in with unhappy landowners or worse.

Even on private lands mushrooms haven't been plentiful so far. Last week's rain brought some out toward the end of the week. But with the calendar already at May, it could be pushing late to see a big run of mushrooms yet this season.

So chalk up another poor season hunting wild mushrooms to the weather. After all, who would want to admit whiter inability to find mushrooms might be tied to poor mushroom hunting skills?

The woods is still beckoning you, however, Take along a fried or two, some mosquito spray, a compass, an empty bread sack just in case and a cell phone, really, really just in case … you get lost…and have fun. That's the real value of hunting mushrooms anyway- developing friendships.