The 2020 morel mushroom hunting season, an overview and statistics, by: Chris Matherly

     It has most definitely been a strange morel season so far. The long extended spring with numerous cold snaps seem to continue into late May. A few areas experienced a hard freeze after the morels started growing causing damage or even froze them out. I have heard very diverse comments from all areas of the US. Numerous microclimates are obvious. In one case, a comment from central Kentucky said “worst year ever” while 35 miles to the north the comment was ” it was an epic year for me here”. Places like West Virginia and Virginia had epic record-setting finds in 2020. Below is photos of just a few reports from WV:

     The morel mushroom progression map from April 24th, 2020 shows widespread morel finds in many locations, especially in the Appalations. A few sporadic locations in higher elevations suffered from hard freezes as well as northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, after the morels started growing.


Also, even as late as May 20th in Oregon, snow fell on morels:

     All spring, most locations had sufficient rainfall however, as of late May, there are drought areas from WIsconsin to the Dakotas.

Above: April Precip, Below: May 15th-21st, 2020

     For me here in Georgia, it was a below average season. We experienced several very heavy rainfalls above 3 inches during the winter causing many morel spots to flood-out. All but 3 of my 20+ hot-spots here in Georgia had horrible flood damage and little or no morels. The 3 spots that did produce and weren’t affected were simply amazing!

     There were (and still are) some morel giants being found. I believe due to the very slow spring warm-up as well as abundant rainfall.

     From the looks of the happy faces from the below member submitted photos of the 2020 season, I’d say it was a great year for 90% of hunters, and sporadic locations experiencing a poor morel year overall. 

     And finally, seeing all of the amazing photos of parents teaching their foraging skills and sharing their passion with their kids always gives me motivation and a big smile on my face and to continue my efforts of sharing my foraging knowledge with others. Happy Hunting! I will see you in the woods! -Chris Matherly

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