TOPEKA (KSNT) – Hunting for any kind of fungus may sound silly, but for some local residents it is a hobby and tradition every spring to look for morel mushrooms.

A morel mushroom in the wild. (Photo Courtesy/Joshua Guyle)

So how does one “hunt” for morel mushrooms and what do you do once you’ve “caught” them?

Joshua Guyle, a local morel hunter in Shawnee County, told 27 News he’s been hunting for Morel Mushrooms for about 35 years. He first began looking for the fungus with his parents and continues the practice to this day.

Guyle said the mushrooms grow every year in the spring starting when redbud trees begin to “pop.” They only stick around for a short time before they are done for the season. The morel mushrooms had a difficult time growing in 2022 due to a lack of moisture Guyle said. However, they could bounce back with recent rainfall and sunlight.

According to Guyle, morels are a delicacy to many people, including himself.

“They’re just really good to eat. They taste delicious,” Guyle said. “A lot of people just want to eat them. They just fall in love with them. You can eat them all kinds of different ways; in pizza, soups. You can even sauté them. There’s all kinds of different ways to prepare them.”

A bundle of collected morel mushrooms. (Photo Courtesy/Joshua Guyle)

The mushrooms are highly sought after by some who are willing to pay top dollar to get ahold of them. Guyle said he’s seen morels go for $35 to $50 per pound on some Facebook groups focused on hunting for the fungus.

“Some restaurants, maybe in Chicago or New York, will reach out and pay like $75 a pound because they’re considered a delicacy up there,” Guyle said.

Prime hunting spots for morel mushrooms are hard to locate, but they seem to favor forests, lake shores, alongside rivers and in backyards occasionally. They do grow in clusters, according to Guyle, so if you find one, there is a high chance more may be nearby.

If you want to go hunting for morel mushrooms, time is almost up. Another week may be all that’s left to find them before waiting for next year.

Suggest a correction or send us a story idea by emailing producers@ksnt.com. We value your input.