It's almost mushroom season in Montana.

Montana has a variety of season-specific activities. Hunting season, fishing season, floating the river season, shed hunting season, ice fishing season... you get the idea. Mushroom hunting season is short, and it's beginning right about now in low-elevation locations in Montana.

The tasty, treasured morel mushroom can be found across Montana, from sandy riverbeds to alpine forests. Expert morel hunters say a good time to start finding Yellow morels at low elevations (river bottoms) is when nearby lilac leaves reach the size of "rabbit ears", according to Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

Credit Canva
Credit Canva
loading...

When can you find morels in Montana?

Morels begin popping in Montana when nighttime temps are consistently around 40 degrees with daytime highs around 60. My lilac bush in the Laurel area is budding, so it's probably time to start looking for shrooms at my favorite spots along the Yellowstone River.

When lilacs start to get leaves, its mushroom time. Credit Michael Foth, TSM
When lilacs start to get leaves, it's mushroom time in Montana. Credit Michael Foth, TSM
loading...

Often found in fire-burned conifer forests at higher altitudes Black morels are typically harvested in late May to July, following the snowmelt up the mountain. Both varieties are edible - and delicious - although the Black morels reportedly have a slightly higher chance of causing stomach discomfort if not thoroughly cooked, per MT FW&P.

Morels could hit record-high prices this year in Montana

Morels season has already begun in warmer places in the midwest, where a grocery store in Ohio recently offered wild morels for $75 a pound, according to an article from the Cowboy State Daily.

Why are morels so expensive?

While not impossible, morel mushrooms are difficult to grow commercially. Much like Montana's beloved huckleberry, morels require a lot of time to harvest by hand, frequently in remote areas. This impacts the price per pound (IF you're lucky enough to find someone willing to sell their shroom stash).

Credit Canva
Credit Canva
loading...

Supply and demand drive morel prices.

Creative local chefs and at-home foodies are using morels more often for specialty dishes that incorporate the lowly fungi. If you can't find any morels or want to branch out your edible mushroom hunting in Montana, at least 10 other safe-to-eat varieties are commonly found in our state. Read more at Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Beginners Guide to Mushroomrooming.

Note: Use common sense when mushroom hunting and never eat anything you're not 100% positive about its identity. Some mushrooms appear very similar to poisonous mushrooms. A full-color, detailed mushroom guide is recommended. Eating the wrong mushroom could be extremely painful, or even cause death. Also... do not trespass or litter and BOLO for ticks! Ticks love the same terrain as mushrooms.

Best Groups for Montana Foraging and Mushroom Hunting

If you love gathering fresh and wild edibles, these are the best online resources to learn the basics or share your expertise. Foraging is a labor of love for special food, and it requires important knowledge along with lots of patience. Check these out!

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

Big List Of The Best French Fries In Montana

Gallery Credit: mwolfe

More From 99.9 Big Sky Sports