Should be a good year for morel mushrooms in Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - All over Ohio mushroom hunters are getting ready for the morel hunting season which usually goes from April to May.

There's good news because according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR)  Naturalist Erin Shaw this should be a good season.

"Flood, fallen trees and fire propagate morels," Shaw said. "We've had lots of flooding and fallen trees this year."

The coveted, edible, mushrooms are hard to find and pop up soon after a rain.

"Wild mushrooms typically grow under the cover of leaves, dead wood and other forest debris, quickly emerging after a moderate or heavy rain," according to the ODNR's guide to morels.

Because they are so hard to find and only around for a short time, morels can be expensive to buy.

A quick check online and you can find 16 oz. of morels being sold by Walmart for $470.86.

True morels vs. false morels

Hunters need to be very careful when mushroom hunting because there's a poisonous mushroom that looks very similar to the edible one.

"True morels have caps with definite pits and ridges, like a honeycomb. False morels may have lobes, folds, flaps or wrinkles," according to the ODNR.

True morels, that are safe to eat, look like this:

A false mushroom is poisonous and looks like this:

Where can you hunt?

There are more than 200,000 acres of state forests in Ohio which makes for a lot of hunting grounds.

"Ask if the area is open to mushroom hunting. Not all parts of the park are hunting areas, especially not the Nature Preserves," Shaw warns. "You will get a ticket if you are in a 'no hunting' area. Stay on the trail. Leave no trace."

The ODNR guide advises, "Abandoned orchards and areas with ash or elm trees are often the most productive areas for mushroom seekers."

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