Morel Hunting in Jackson Hole

May 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Canyon and I are both on the hunt. Walking with purpose, scanning the ground. Of course, we are looking for different things. He is looking for a red tailed squirrel that keeps chattering, taunting him as he sits Morel Unpickedsafely in a nearby tree. I am searching for morel mushrooms, an edible treasure that grows in the spring. As I part some tree branches, bushwacking off of the trail, I look down and spy a brown fungi. Precisely what I am looking for. I admire the wavy pattern of the cap and as I kneel to pick it I let the joy of the hunt spread over me. I found one! My first morel. And then, like a drug addict, I am on the hunt for another one. Craving the satisfaction and high that you get from finding a wild mushroom.

Last year, I went foraging for the first time. My first experience was hunting for golden chanterelles. At night I would dream of finding them. Whenever I was on a hike I always kept my eyes peeled for them. After finding my first morel, I assure you, the feeling is the same. As I sit in my office, I am daydreaming of wandering around in the woods in search of small brown beauties. Remembering the taste of my morels, which I dredged in flour and fried in butter last night, makes my mouth water. They tasted earthy and soft.

As far as wild mushrooms go, morels are easily identifiable and valuable – a pound of mushrooms can sell for around $14 dollars a pound. However, they are rather elusive. After an hour of searching, I onlMorel in Handy had 3 small morels to show for my effort. However, they are just starting to grow at the elevation of the area where I was looking for them.

Like most mushrooms, morels like moist ground and grow in treed areas. Morel hunting is a favorite pasttime of many Jackson Hole residents, but don’t ask them about where they go hunting. Like hunting elk, friends rarely share their hunting grounds. People have their secret spots where they return to year after year to harvest mushrooms. The last thing they want to do is increase the competition and have to share their bounty with someone else. The secretiveness of morel hunting makes the experience even more thrilling.

I don’t recommend that you eat any wild mushrooms unless you are certain that you have correctly identified them. While morels are rather easy to identify, there are a few mushrooms that look similar and can cause gastro-intestinal distress. Here is a link to information on false morels.

Morel hunting is a family friendly activity and is very enjoyable – even if you don’t find any mushrooms, the walk in the woods and the thrill of the hunt itself is very fun. Morels grow in Jackson in May and early June, so go take a walk and see what you can find! Just don’t ask me where I found mine… đŸ˜‰

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