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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was looking at the state hunting map to find places to go. If you zoom in and turn on the Cover Types layer it shows combinations of tree type and configuration. What combination do you think would be prime for morels? What would you avoid? Pick a letter and a number.
A) Oak
B) Other Upland Deciduous
C) Upland Conifer
D) Grass/Shrubs/Crops
E) Wetlands/Bogs
F) Lowland Conifers
G) Lowland Deciduous
H) Rock/Sand/Soil
I) Aspen


1 - Low density sapling
2 - Medium density sapling
3 - High density sapling
4 - Low density pole
5 - Medium density pole
6 - High density pole
7 - Low density log
8 - Medium density log
9 - High density log

Click on the layers and select MIHunt Cover Types
 

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I was looking at the state hunting map to find places to go. If you zoom in and turn on the Cover Types layer it shows combinations of tree type and configuration. What combination do you think would be prime for morels? What would you avoid? Pick a letter and a number.
A) Oak
B) Other Upland Deciduous
C) Upland Conifer
D) Grass/Shrubs/Crops
E) Wetlands/Bogs
F) Lowland Conifers
G) Lowland Deciduous
H) Rock/Sand/Soil
I) Aspen


1 - Low density sapling
2 - Medium density sapling
3 - High density sapling
4 - Low density pole
5 - Medium density pole
6 - High density pole
7 - Low density log
8 - Medium density log
9 - High density log

I am a moderator for this site and I find your post interesting and possibly educational,
would you please provide me with more information on who you are and your goals from this post.
If not I feel it is a bit odd and will confer with others to see if they feel it appropriate for this site. Thank you, MMH
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi. I am a beginner unsuccessful hunter. I ran across this map of public land in Michigan where I can go. I've heard things like look for dead elm trees etc but that doesn't help with this map. As a new hunter I may unknowingly be going to places an experienced hunter would NEVER go. Am I better off targeting an oak area or Aspen? Should I go to high density log or medium density pole? I am willing to drive but don't know where to go.
 

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Morchella, I remember you looking for help last year. How far north are you in MI? I'm in Indiana, but I'll help you when I'm around.

Judging from the type of trees you're looking at, it sounds like you're pretty far north. There's a few really good hunters up there that can probably give a better rundown of the local foliage than I can. Last year was my first year looking up there, and it was a bad year to begin. This one should be much better.

I've found morels by Oaks, Conifers, and Deciduous, along with many other varieties...also found them in sand mounds and sidewalk cracks. That said, they grow best around Apple, Elm and Ash trees...learn what the bark and leaves look like. Level hill plateaus and small slopes are my favorites, sometimes riverbeds. Ground cover not too thick or overgrown. Control burn sites work well a year or two after...the MI DNR has that info. Usually good to have a water source (pond, lake, river) nearby. I've also had good luck at parks that have adjacent north/south train tracks.

My thing is to watch the trees...they will tell you when. Me, I wouldn't even begin to think about looking (unless you're scouting) until the trees are budding. That means the root system is waking up, and so is everything else. You can find them randomly once this happens, but it's best to wait for some leaves, wild flowers, and possibly other fungi for ideal conditions. I start looking pretty hard (every day), and have my best luck, once the forest canopy buds begin turning into leaves. When the mid-sized trees have >40% of their leaves formed, and the tallest have begun the transformation, you're going to want to be out whenever you can. Early shrooms like the sun. Shrooms that are on-time like partial shade. Spaces that get early morning or evening sun, and some mid-day shade, produce well in the early season. I've noticed that I find the early ones a little deeper in the woods, and the late ones closer to the treeline. They usually work center-out and south to north (and east-west), but where the sun shines through matters most. Once the forest has completely filled in, and you get a longer streak of 70+ degrees, you have maybe a week left tops. (60s daytime/40s nighttime is optimal)

Weather plays a big factor, but you'll notice that the bulk come up at pretty much the same time each year. If it's an early spring, the season is likely to start sooner and be longer...that's why I watch the trees. Last year around me, and farther south, was really good early on. However, we had all that rain/flooding (esp. in MI), and that bad cold snap. That really put a damper on the yellows, but I got a ton of half-free and blacks. Going early gives you that advantage, along with less competition. The year before, the season started almost two weeks late due to cold weather, but the late season was awesome (albeit shorter).

Since you're starting out, you should begin keeping a record of dates found, type of morel, where, conditions (wet/dry, leaves/foliage, sunny/cloudy), and temperature (daily/weekly/monthly). You'll find patterns. I normally hunt alone, but maybe I can get you started, or at least point you in the right direction if you come down this way. I'll be going to southern Indiana mid-April to a spot I found a few years ago that had the potential to be the mother lode if I time it right. That, and my slurry are most likely off-limits, but I have plenty of spots that produce...and others I know do, but have yet to be serious about exploring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the reply Region. I grew up in Dyer but now live smack in the middle of the Mitten. I hear people talk about Elm and Ash but those are not options on the map. I didn't know if I should avoid conifers. I've read some interesting things about Degree Days as well. Do you use a GPS to return to your spots?
 

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Ahh Dyer...fewer and fewer spots in the region to hunt nowadays. The remaining locations have steep competition.

Don't use GPS...only my noggin. If the Conifers are mixed with Ash/ Elm, or Apple, I've had luck, but very little w/o. Could be something to do with the Ph of the soil. Morels can come up in sandy areas, but I have the best luck with a soil/sand mix. My father and grandfather had luck closer to the Dunes, but I haven't really dedicated myself to those areas because I've had good luck farther away.

The best thing you can do is get in the car and scout the areas yourself. You can then see what the foliage/ground cover mix is like, if there is any downed timber, elevations, etc. It might take you going to the same forest for a few years before you actually find Morels. I try to find at least one new spot a year, and that requires a bit of searching once the season has ended. I scouted some nice places up your way...north and east of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and along the lake. When your area pops, I'll help you out. I'd guess it'd be at the very end of April or beginning of May.
 

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Thanks for the reply Region. I grew up in Dyer but now live smack in the middle of the Mitten. I hear people talk about Elm and Ash but those are not options on the map. I didn't know if I should avoid conifers. I've read some interesting things about Degree Days as well. Do you use a GPS to return to your spots?
Hi Morchella,

I am an avid morel hunter in northern MI. I agree with what all of the others have said in reply to your question. I have tried the DNR maps but have had little luck finding good areas that way. It does take work to find good places. I have already started last fall looking for new areas to try in 2021. I must do that because many of my other places are either getting cut, too mature, or ash trees dying from the ash borer. That all said my formula for success is as follows: The best map to use is one that shows the public land. One such mapbook is the Michigan Atlas & Gazetteer. You can get one at Wal Mart and some convenience stores. With this mapbook I first look for areas of public land. This atlas also shows woodlands vs. wetlands. Of course I concentrate on woodlands. I then drive around in those areas looking at the types of trees. Mid aged aspen (popple) areas are easy to spot from the car. Those areas often produce the earlier augusticeps or black morels if they have Big Tooth Aspen, maple, oak mix. If you happen to found an area logged off the previous year then I would try that for black morels as well. To find good spots for the later esculente or white morels is getting harder. Spot more mature hardwoods that haven't been cut or thinned out recently from the car. Then I must get out and do some walking. The hillier spots seem to produce more ash trees. I look for spots that have an abundance of mid to large ash trees that are not too far gone from the ash borer. Ash trees are not the only areas that fruit white morels. Sometimes apple trees and dead elm but those are harder to find on public land. Hope this helps. I'm getting excited because spring is arriving soon!
 

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Hey Morchella, if these weather patterns hold up, you're going to have an early start in Michigan. If there aren't any cold snaps after this week, you should start looking the last weekend in April. I'll keep you updated.
 

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I hate to say it, but you'll find morels where they are growing. I've seen many people try to pigeon hole where they will be, lists, charts, maps, divining rods, and even a guy who once told me to look for squirrels with skinny tails cause that's a sure sign of morel country.

I've found them in conifers, in sand, in oak stands, in lawns, even growing in a crack on a sidewalk, and I've searched elms, apple orchards, south slopes, and other places where all advice says to look only to find nothing but a few ticks.

Heres the secret...the real secret to finding morels...

The secret those of us who find them year after year know..

Ready?

They are in the woods. Get off the sofa, spend time looking. Not 10 minutes, not an hour, get out there, enjoy mother nature, the more time spent looking, the greater your odds are of finding spots.

It's that simple.
 

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I went out for hours and hours daily last year and never found anything. I'm concerned that I'm looking in places that others would never ever think of looking. Should I be jumping around logs, more open spaces, going where I need a machete, sunny, no sun, I have no idea.
Last year was a terrible year for MI because of the cold snap and constant rain (flooding)...you have a much better chance this year. In our previous conversation, I sent you names of a couple parks in central MI that you should check out. They have a lot of the characteristics you should be looking for.
I won't be headed north for at least 7-10 days, and will probably hit Ottawa Co. when I do. If you're really antsy and want to come down this way (NW IN), I have some parks you can walk with me.

Attached are today's pics. I'll probably be out again on Sunday/Monday, and every day I'm able from Thursday until the end.

Brown Wood Automotive tire Twig Bedrock

Food Cuisine Ingredient Seed Font
Twig Mammal Wood Terrestrial plant Terrestrial animal
 
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