After the rain and warm weather southern Idaho has seen over the last few weeks, conditions are primed for wild morel mushroom hunting. The fungal plant is especially fruitful on burned forest land, which makes national forests a popular spot for morel picking.
Dave Olson is a spokesman with the Boise National Forest. He says the best time for morels is the first season after a wildfire, so 2014's relatively quiet wildfire season means this year isn't as good as in years past.
"We had really only about 10,000 acres that burned on the national forest so interest has been low compared to some of our other years."
But he says there's still time to get mushrooms, especially at higher elevations. Commercial permits aren't available on the Boise National Forest this year, but up to five gallons of morels a day can be picked for personal use.
Olson reminds people to be careful about which mushrooms they pick, and if possible to go with someone who has hunted morels before. He says there are poisonous mushrooms in the forest.
The Idaho Mountain Express reports that chefs and gourmands in Sun Valley are taking advantage of a good wild morel season, featuring the meaty tasting mushroom on local menus.
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