Daily Morel Mushroom Report May 4, 2018
Morel mushroom hunting season is in full swing for many states and the Midwest is just starting to heat up. Living in Nebraska, we typically get to watch the states to the south of us pull in big hauls of morel mushrooms before we even get a chance to get into the woods. Every year I always tell myself I will hold off until I know the conditions are right and every year I always go a little too early. Something about the weather getting warm, the trees budding, dandelions blooming, and the grass turning green with the first spring rains gets me fired up for morel mushrooms. This year is no different. So to help you, we will be doing a daily morel mushroom report.
I am fortunate enough to work night shift, which typically allows me first crack at any freshly popped mushrooms. I frequently take hour long strolls through the woods at first light, often times just to check conditions. We have had two days of storms which brought close to an inch of rain to the area, and temperatures have been trending up nicely. I know we are close, but I want to get a first hand look at just how close we really are.
This morning I am checking some Platte River ground in Madison County, Nebraska and after a short 20 minute drive I am finally there! I anxiously hop out of the truck, toss on my boots, grab my camera and jump into the woods. I’m on a mission to find the first morels of my mushroom hunting season.
After scanning the woods for half dead or dying trees, I made my way down into a small ravine and started tree hunting. The ground was green and alive with newly sprouted plant life and last years storms have left many downed trees and exposed root balls which are typically morel magnets…. No dice. I’m early. The ground is soaked, the birds are chirping, things look ALMOST perfect, however, all my promising tree prospects are empty.
Thirty minutes into my hike, I find another set of promising exposed root balls near a small standing puddle of water. It looks GOOD….And sure enough, there it is, the first morel mushroom of the year! Surely, there has to be more. I scan and scan, moving leaves and sticks, searching for the patch I have thought about for the last 11 months. No such luck.
Ground temps are right around 55 degrees and approaching prime levels. The ground is wet, conditions are almost perfect. With sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70’s to low 80’s in the forecast the next two days, it wont be long. I’ll be out again in the morning, bright and early to beat the traffic. Or maybe it’s just because I am a little mushroom crazy. Be sure to check back for my daily morel mushroom report, happy hunting!