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Discussion Starter #1
Beyond the 43,000 dead cattle there are perhaps a few million dead, dying and baddly broken evergreens and hardwoods here in the Black Hills from the devastating October 2013 blizzard. Am hoping that this substantial quantity of new and negatively impacted standing and down timber will provide a black morel bonanza for years to come. Any others have experience in morel harvest after such a natural disaster?
 

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Butch as far as I know, Blacks or elata, require a burn for a massive flush. The black morels I used to collect up by Deerfield I collected for 3 years after a prescribed burn, but they have been gone these past 2 years. A similar flush was observed near Piedmont several years back, after a fire. I dont know, maybe simple disturbance alone can trigger them.

I do believe, that things should improve overall for Morels. With all the Beetle trees being removed, damage from the blizzard, opens up clearings that Hardwoods can take advantage of.

I know up Montana and Pacific NW, people flock to these burn sites, where they need obtain a permit. I know the Morels they collect are the thin fleshed, conical, form of Black morel
 

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I am extremely new to mushroom hunting, usually I just get excited when I happen to come across one and take lots of pictures. I have never tried to find one on purpose. I would very much like to try my hand at it though. I am fairly new to the Hills, having worked as a seasonal for a couple summers but this is my first spring. If you experts don't mind, I'd like to know when I should get out there and start hunting. Also, as a firefighter, I have an inside scoop as to where the fires have been. Do morels only fruit in the first year after a burn or multiple years? Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated. I think foraging is the height of self-sufficiency and have had a passion for mushrooms as long as I can remember. My crew even helps me take pictures of them when we are out working :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
First of the 2014 Black Hills black morels today for us! We checked eight early season Lawrence County sites and three sites produced. All these areas were under eight inches of snow just last Thursday and got a half inch + of rain last night. Only 17 in total, but they are our first of the season!! Will celebrate our success with beef steaks and fresh morels for dinner!! The next six weeks will have us in the woods.
 

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butchbob...very jealous. I went last Sat to a great looking hardwoods spot but in Meade county. Any help finding them would be appreciated. I am just not having the best of luck in the Hills!!! UGH!
 

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Thanks Butch! Figured it would be any day now. Been patiently waiting. Best of luck everyone, and enjoy the time you're out!
 

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Just got the word today that the shroom boom is on back home!!! Guess where im heading this weekend? you guessed it!!!

Good luck everyone and may your shroom bags be bountiful

happy and safe shroomin
 

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Think Im going to give it 4-5 days before I even start, let this cold snap and rain pass by. I wouldn't focus too much on fire locations, there really hasn't been many of any size these past few years.

So Butch, you finding them "In the hills", lower elevation, South face? Or you out on the prairie?

Hey Kaoticgirl, if your based out of the Spearfish work shop, just keep heading up that gravel road check different Aspen locations, scrutinize dead Aspen, I have good luck up that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jerv - We are at lowest elevation just inside the tree line SE of Whitewood. Found all along the crest of north facing slopes w/good drainage, sun and pines. No luck w/yellows on the prairie yet, but the apsaragus has started to pop there.
 

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Thanks for the tip Butch.

I did find my first of the year today, down along the Cheyenne River. All the Elms are pretty well dead, been so for 5 years, every year is worse and worse. Though I do still find a single every now and then near a dead cottonwood, and occasionally a patch from out of nowhere in grass and dirt. Basically I just filled my Cap with small yellows, was all I could find.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Past two days we have found 2 new patches each on an east or southeast facing slope. All are black morels found w/in a 20 foot elevation and along contour for 100 feet N-S and E-W w/good sun. Pine with minor short oak and little to no ground cover or grass on sandy and/or limestone soil. Each site yielded about 4 dozen with say 15% brown stems and/or dry tops indicating that they have been up for more than a week.
Did do a day at the Wind Cave to Pringle "uncontrolled federal burn" fire from two years ago and found nothing. Perhaps a too hot fire?
 

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No luck at all yet in the Hills for me. Apparently all my sites are mid-late, they tend to be in draws or north face, and 1000-2000' above the prairie. I went out on the 15th, beat around for a few hours. I look at the Lilacs in my yard, then the ground cover out in the woods. Its still showing early, at least in my gathering spots. I still got an occasional iceberg, with frozen ground 2" beneath.

Checking the forecast, tues/wends for Spearfish next week looks good. Warm temps with potential for rain. I think thats when its going to happen.

I haven't heard a single Grouse drumming yet this year, I suppose thats already over.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Still finding about 50+ black morel per outing, yet most are an inch or so and many are mature. Pasque still in bloom where morels are found, but few to no dandylion. Way dry at the low elevations and snow at the +5,000 foot elevation leaves a distinct zone to search in the northern hills. We remain focused on pine and sandy soil. Still no morels for us on the prairie.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Low elevation logging units today provided only 32 black morels. All facing west were dry tops. Shooting stars in bloom where most were found.Extremely dry.
 

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I have been out three weekends in a row and been skunked. I just don't get it. I'm trying again this weekend and any clues would really help me. I am really bummed!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mary, last weekend we saw folks hunting at way too high elevations and they too were skunked. The first 1000 feet of elevation once in the pines is where we are having some luck, yet it is severely dry in the northern hills. Purple shooting stars, purple pasque flowers, a couple dandylions are blooming where the blacks are now found. Pine with a few scrub oaks and minor Oregon Grape w/ or w/o yellow flowers have treated us best.
 

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Thanks. I have been around Sturgis, Whitewood, Crook City and tried outside Spearfish. I am not seeing shrooms of any kinds. Just don't know where to head this time.
 
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