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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Prior to this year, I've never intentionally hunted for morels.

I'd find one here or there - in my yard, or in the woods out scouting for deer in the spring -but never enough that I'd bother picking them. Maybe an average of 1-2 a year.

As a way to get out in the woods a bit more this spring and force myself to do a little more scouting - I figured I'd give actively hunting for morels a go. I wasn't expecting much, but figured with some effort I'd at least find 10-15, enough to bother picking and eating.

Lets just say that hasn't happened.

I read all kinds of stuff on the internet and in books. I've concentrated my efforts on areas that fit the description...

Dead/dying Elm, Oak, Ash
Dead trees/stumps other deciduous trees (oak, hickory, birch, beech...)
Burned areas
Creek beds
Controlled burn sites in/around deciduous trees
A group of old abandoned apple trees on state land
Mossy areas.... mayapples... trilliums...

I've hit tons of state land between Harrison and Gladwin, as well as looking in Ypsi/Arboer around where I work at lunch every day (lots of dead decidious trees, in areas that get controlled burns every couple years), and at the parks near my house (also deciduouswith regular controlled burns).


I figure - I've got 15-20 hours in, and I haven't seen a single morel. Not a tiny one. Not an old dried up one. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Either I'm looking in the wrong places, or I'm just missing what is there - but I'll take any tips I can get.

Note: I am mildly red-green deficient, so I might have a harder time seeing them than some folks.
 

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Either I'm looking in the wrong places, or I'm just missing what is there - but I'll take any tips I can get.
These are my two biggest problems. I feel when I'm in the woods I seem to look at the big picture reason for missing the little things that may be there (looking for deer/game, trails, scraps rubs when with my Dad or Uncle they are always looking more for signs being tracks, droppings, beds, escape routes etc). I also feel with confidence in an area it is much easier to find them, my Dad and I would go to a place and find them almost every time out. Now that he is gone I have been back to that place one or twice and found them but looking other areas that I feel should be good I just don't fine them maybe because there are none to be found or more likely I am missing them. Another area my Dad and I used to find them all the time they logged the area and after that we didn't find them again maybe it was temporary buy lasted a number of years just have not been back since he passed.
 

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Anybody have a graph on this for payback? :p
Just kidding, the most important is getting the "eye", watch what light conditions you are out in. I was out yesterday high noon and thought to myself, what am I doing out here?
 

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I will say this is a really tuff year for looking - last two weekends north on 1 mushroom - now did find a few and I mean few but 2 small to
pick. We have general areas that have produced for years and others are tree specific. Cold up north has not done us a favors and the
rain days were followed by cold weather - glad I have a few jars dried as think I am going to need them. Even down state things are way behind.
Just hoping the heat now and rain does not end our season. I am sure you have been in the right areas, just the wrong time.
 

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For early season Morels unless you know how to spot them, slow down . If you're walking then you're moving too fast to spot them. Stop. Scan. Repeat. Get down low. Then they will magically appear.

I like aspen stands.
Many is the time sightings fell off and I'd stop and lean against a popple , then start a slow dissecting from it's base out to depending on density of trees ;fifteen yards or so.
When they were up , multiples would be spotted again. But I'd keep looking for more.
Having to relocate them ,but knowing they were there helped slow my progress.
No sense blowing past or stepping on any.
 

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Prior to this year, I've never intentionally hunted for morels.

I'd find one here or there - in my yard, or in the woods out scouting for deer in the spring -but never enough that I'd bother picking them. Maybe an average of 1-2 a year.

As a way to get out in the woods a bit more this spring and force myself to do a little more scouting - I figured I'd give actively hunting for morels a go. I wasn't expecting much, but figured with some effort I'd at least find 10-15, enough to bother picking and eating.

Lets just say that hasn't happened.

I read all kinds of stuff on the internet and in books. I've concentrated my efforts on areas that fit the description...

Dead/dying Elm, Oak, Ash
Dead trees/stumps other deciduous trees (oak, hickory, birch, beech...)
Burned areas
Creek beds
Controlled burn sites in/around deciduous trees
A group of old abandoned apple trees on state land
Mossy areas.... mayapples... trilliums...

I've hit tons of state land between Harrison and Gladwin, as well as looking in Ypsi/Arboer around where I work at lunch every day (lots of dead decidious trees, in areas that get controlled burns every couple years), and at the parks near my house (also deciduouswith regular controlled burns).


I figure - I've got 15-20 hours in, and I haven't seen a single morel. Not a tiny one. Not an old dried up one. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Either I'm looking in the wrong places, or I'm just missing what is there - but I'll take any tips I can get.

Note: I am mildly red-green deficient, so I might have a harder time seeing them than some folks.
And you know what's funny? You can go back home and find some growing in your lawn, or in the firepit at the cabin, or in the ground that was tore up by a bulldozer that put in a gravel drive.

In the words of Joe Minaldi: "Life is stranger than shiiit, that's all. It's a pisser."
 

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Prior to this year, I've never intentionally hunted for morels.

I'd find one here or there - in my yard, or in the woods out scouting for deer in the spring -but never enough that I'd bother picking them. Maybe an average of 1-2 a year.

As a way to get out in the woods a bit more this spring and force myself to do a little more scouting - I figured I'd give actively hunting for morels a go. I wasn't expecting much, but figured with some effort I'd at least find 10-15, enough to bother picking and eating.

Lets just say that hasn't happened.

I read all kinds of stuff on the internet and in books. I've concentrated my efforts on areas that fit the description...

Dead/dying Elm, Oak, Ash
Dead trees/stumps other deciduous trees (oak, hickory, birch, beech...)
Burned areas
Creek beds
Controlled burn sites in/around deciduous trees
A group of old abandoned apple trees on state land
Mossy areas.... mayapples... trilliums...

I've hit tons of state land between Harrison and Gladwin, as well as looking in Ypsi/Arboer around where I work at lunch every day (lots of dead decidious trees, in areas that get controlled burns every couple years), and at the parks near my house (also deciduouswith regular controlled burns).


I figure - I've got 15-20 hours in, and I haven't seen a single morel. Not a tiny one. Not an old dried up one. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Either I'm looking in the wrong places, or I'm just missing what is there - but I'll take any tips I can get.

Note: I am mildly red-green deficient, so I might have a harder time seeing them than some folks.
Multiple approaches.
Find one and there must be more. Umm , maybe.
There are bold maverick pioneer type specimens. What are you doing here little guy? The wind blow a spore and it landed in just the right spot?
Then there are those just on the fringe.
But...

A colony of shrooms is dependent on what is below them. And the niche of environment that can measure from square feet as small as a bathtub , to acres.
I moved a white pine to the front yard where I lived before (no I seldom associate white pines with black morels. Have picked blacks around a couples driplines in a poplar forest though) and instead of morels around my compost pile out back where I scattered my rinse water (And yes I know some folks say never wash a mushroom , I do my morels) they would grow under that pine.

You want to be in/on a colony.
That is dependent on the ground/soil /niche environment. And importantly the right conditions of moisture and temperature. You are picking fruit. But what that fruit comes off is important. It may not fruit well when conditions are not right. But if it does alright after fruiting season there is the future years.

One site was picked over 40 years until logged. That is what you want to start out in. Once you get the hang of spotting them you can go find lots and lots and lots of ground with no morels on it.

Inspect the ground on a known producing site of a colony. Under the surface is the real life form. But everything above supports it. Yes , slipped bark can sometimes be right where to look. But the source of the fruiting that is positively affected by certain events and conditions has to be there first.

You find morels up good , note the wind/air flow direction.
Next year check below /that direction where you picked the previous year.
I had blacks cross a trail into oak scrub doing that. Did they really? Heck I've never associated blacks with oaks and I don't even like seeing oak leaves blown onto where I pick. But there they were after the usual black picking area was fading for the season. At least they were one year. Maybe two.
 

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@pescadero you’re not alone. I’ve done my research, followed pointers and struck out for about ten years. Then I met my girlfriend who has spots and eagle eyes and she makes it easy… find someone to go with who is good, at least I get to carry her haul.
 

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Instant gratification or sucess is not the norm in new pursuits.
And should not be expected to improve with time unless effort is intelligently applied.
Enjoy the adventure when starting something new. Or even pursuing something old.

We have dinosaur bones in Michigan. Should I pout if I go looking and don't find any?
We have black bear too. Seeing many?

Get a mushroom stick.
A proper mesh bag or basket..
You don't need one , but have a mushroom knife. Once it's tasted a mushroom , sanctify it for such. Heck I even have a mushroom hunting , what looks like home sewn camo heavy shirt. It has seen too many morels to not want to hunt without having. Even if it's warm out.
There are morels "out there." They look like a sponge at the right angle.
Your color challenges are not a handicap. As colors vary by sunlight , backlight, shade, background.
More than once I've insisted morel pattern would make a good camouflage.
Other times they stand out. But not in my shadow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Instant gratification or sucess is not the norm in new pursuits.
And should not be expected to improve with time unless effort is intelligently applied.
I'm not expecting instant success - but as you noted (and any athlete knows) practicing wrong is worse than not practicing.

If I knew I was doing the right thing - persistence isnt hard... but based on folks general advice, there is no "right thing", and the right thing varies wildly and is so inconsistent as to amount to "try everything and hope you get lucky".

Enjoy the adventure when starting something new. Or even pursuing something old.
I don't expect guarantees, but if trying really hard and spending hours doesn't at least increase my likelihood of success over doing nothing - I'll find more fruitful pursuits.

I just.... Largely don't do things I'm not successful at. If after a modicum of effort I'm not reasonably good, I quit and pick another thing off the list of thousands I want to try.

We have dinosaur bones in Michigan. Should I pout if I go looking and don't find any?
No. You should consult experts to tell if you're hunting and the right places, and what the normal number of man hours per discovery are - and then move to more likely locations, or fix whatever is causing you to have discoveries at lower rates.

We have black bear too. Seeing many?
Black bears are up 2-0 on morels this year.


Your color challenges are not a handicap. As colors vary by sunlight , backlight, shade, background.
Well... It's definitely a handicap when attempting to follow a blood trail. I can still do it, but it is much harder for me to see blood than my wife/kid.

...and looking at pictures of "how many morels can you find"? My wife always picks them out much easier than I do.
 

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I'm not expecting instant success - but as you noted (and any athlete knows) practicing wrong is worse than not practicing.

If I knew I was doing the right thing - persistence isnt hard... but based on folks general advice, there is no "right thing", and the right thing varies wildly and is so inconsistent as to amount to "try everything and hope you get lucky".



I don't expect guarantees, but if trying really hard and spending hours doesn't at least increase my likelihood of success over doing nothing - I'll find more fruitful pursuits.

I just.... Largely don't do things I'm not successful at. If after a modicum of effort I'm not reasonably good, I quit and pick another thing off the list of thousands I want to try.



No. You should consult experts to tell if you're hunting and the right places, and what the normal number of man hours per discovery are - and then move to more likely locations, or fix whatever is causing you to have discoveries at lower rates.



Black bears are up 2-0 on morels this year.




Well... It's definitely a handicap when attempting to follow a blood trail. I can still do it, but it is much harder for me to see blood than my wife/kid.

...and looking at pictures of "how many morels can you find"? My wife always picks them out much easier than I do.
Sometimes a struggle in a challenge is good.
The first of the season can be hard to spot. But then if color dependent , color changes and varies. Which can and has confused the seeker. Or certainly has me.

A gal I got started sat on a breaktime . Frustrated with no findings.
I told her there were multiple in arms reach and not to get up till she found them.

IN successive years , whoever found the first one would leave it. Then any/everyone else would then be put to work till they found it.

Like the freak 3-D picture you have to look at just right or long enough from the right angle and then it jumps out at you.

One friend used to spot them from a moving vehicle before stopping to pick. No , I didn't kick him in the shins.

For you....Timing is likely #1.
Followed by how it is YOUR eyes can pick them up. From a distant angle? From directly above? In bright light or dim?
Only by your head not moving? By the edge of your sight? By studying by the square foot? Or yard? Or yards?
Or only on wet ground /leaves? Or dry? (I dislike dry immensely. Better it be raining for me.)

Confidence in knowing they are there can be paramount to a doubtful eye. Thus the timing needing to be right.
That can evolve into finding old morels. Or small ones. Or spotting the hints of other life that are related to that timing.
Check today , nothing. Check tomorrow nothing. Check two days later and bingo!
Or check for a week. Or two weeks. Here's that confidence in site again. Or else a willingness to gamble. And gambling can be how it's done.
More than one jackpot has resulted.
 

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Don't blame yourself, blame mother nature. The spring weather for at least the last three years has been absolutely horrible for proper morel growing conditions, at least in the northern lower. Same ole crap, at first you get enough rain but too many freezing nights. Finally it warms up but turns as dry as a popcorn fart. I've hunted morels my entire life and have even bought used cars with mushroom money. The last three years it's hard to make gas money. If we ever get a decent spring you will find them.
 

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Prior to this year, I've never intentionally hunted for morels.

I'd find one here or there - in my yard, or in the woods out scouting for deer in the spring -but never enough that I'd bother picking them. Maybe an average of 1-2 a year.

As a way to get out in the woods a bit more this spring and force myself to do a little more scouting - I figured I'd give actively hunting for morels a go. I wasn't expecting much, but figured with some effort I'd at least find 10-15, enough to bother picking and eating.

Lets just say that hasn't happened.

I read all kinds of stuff on the internet and in books. I've concentrated my efforts on areas that fit the description...

Dead/dying Elm, Oak, Ash
Dead trees/stumps other deciduous trees (oak, hickory, birch, beech...)
Burned areas
Creek beds
Controlled burn sites in/around deciduous trees
A group of old abandoned apple trees on state land
Mossy areas.... mayapples... trilliums...

I've hit tons of state land between Harrison and Gladwin, as well as looking in Ypsi/Arboer around where I work at lunch every day (lots of dead decidious trees, in areas that get controlled burns every couple years), and at the parks near my house (also deciduouswith regular controlled burns).


I figure - I've got 15-20 hours in, and I haven't seen a single morel. Not a tiny one. Not an old dried up one. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

Either I'm looking in the wrong places, or I'm just missing what is there - but I'll take any tips I can get.

Note: I am mildly red-green deficient, so I might have a harder time seeing them than some folks.
Not the best time to be a beginner morel hunter.....most of the past several seasons. Though the white variety does seem to fair better most seasons.

The key is the woods they grow in, you won't find them just anywhere. And the description of where they will grow isn't absolute.....that means they can grow where they "shouldn't" and will not where they "should" grow.

Find a spot and keep it to yourself and only the most trusted of friends, and hope the saws don't find it and the WX is right for the season.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Or else a willingness to gamble. And gambling can be how it's done.
More than one jackpot has resulted.
... and I don't gamble.

If the answer is that it's just a throw of the dice until you find spots, it might not be the game for me. I have a strong preference for things where process and practice lead to improvement.
 
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