When and where do I pick morel mushrooms?

This is a question with a lot of answers grounded in years of folklore and anecdotal evidence. A few things, however, can be discerned for the mushroom hunter.

In Nebraska, morels (Genus Morchella) can be found starting in mid-April in the southeast part of the state, the beginning of May in central Nebraska, and later as you head north and west. Morels don't all emerge at once, so there's a morel season that can last several weeks. It's also good to remember that morels can emerge at different times over the years depending on local conditions pertaining to soil moisture and temperature, or if it's an early or late spring.

Prime morel habitat is more common in the eastern part of the state than the west, but you can find morels throughout Nebraska. They require loose soil, high humidity, and decaying vegetation. With that in mind, it is clear that morels like riparian habitats, but they will grow in ravines or deciduous woodlands that are not close to streams. They love rich soils with a lot of humus and rotting fallen trees and stumps. You won't find morels growing on the crest of a wind-swept prairie hill.

Both the time and habitat for morel hunting coincides with that for ticks. Lyme disease is serious; remember to take proper precautions.

For more information:

The Elusive Morel- Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

The Great Morel