Warm weather could mark the end of the season for morel mushroom hunters

JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - With the warmer weather arriving, people are searching for morel mushrooms across the state- for those that have not started looking, they might be nearing their final chance to get out and look.

Hunting for morels can be challenging in May- as they come harder to find, and could start to dry up with warmer weather. (Aaron Scheinblum, KCRG)

Experts say the best time to start looking is when soil temperatures reach 50 degrees- but the wire array of weather has created challenges for the season.

Some hunters, however, are still having success by the bag load; the Schropp family would fall under that category.

Out in the middle of the woods, Mike Schropp and his son, Carter, are hiking with a purpose as they continue their family tradition- one they practice two or three times a year.

"My dad always took me when I was little," Mike Schropp said. "He could never eat them, he got sick, and he would give them to people in town that couldn't go. So I've kind of tried to carry that on."

"He used to just follow behind me and tell me where al the ones I missed- because I'd just find the big ones that stick out, but he's definitely taught me a lot about it," Carter Schropp said.

As they trek across the leaves and fallen trees, through thorns and other vegetation, they come prepared to walk miles and leap any obstacle until they find the popular delicacy of morels.

Even knowing where to look, searching is not for the impatient, but for those planning to head out to find the last of the morels, do it soon.

"[There's] probably three to four days left," Mike Schropp said. "There might be a few stragglers out there, but once it starts getting hot, they dry up pretty fast."

Most dedicated morel hunters would never give away their spots to search, and the Schropp family is no different. But they did offer advice, suggesting to look in the following locations:

- Birch trees
- Elm trees, dead elm trees mainly
- Trees with bark that are falling off the top, but not the bottom yet
- Growth of other mushrooms in the area
- Spots that get the most sun
- Underneath mayflowers