Unseasonably low temperatures this spring have put a damper on morel mushroom hunting in Eastern Jackson County.
Since the official start of spring on March 20, temperatures have ranged from as high as 79 degrees to below 32 degrees on some days, providing less-than-ideal conditions for the growth of morels. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center manager Lisa LaCombe said reports of morel locations have been minimal. Usually, she said, they start growing in early April.
“I’ve been out on the trails in the Eastern Jackson County area and haven’t seen anything,” LaCombe said. “We usually have people come into the nature center and talk about what they have found. We haven’t had that happen.”
“I’ve heard reports of little, teeny, tiny ones, north of the river,” she said. “I don’t know if this year is going to be great for morel hunting around the Kansas City area. The weather hasn’t been great for spring so far.”
he best areas to look for them are in forested areas with moist soil. They often grow around trees and in fairly open areas.
“If you have been out on the trails, they have not been wet; they are pretty dry” LaCombe said. “The spring wildflowers have also been pushed back by a couple of weeks because of the weather. You usually find (morels) the same time that the Mayapples come up out in the woods. They blend in with the background.”
Check the Missouri Department of Conservation website – mdc.mo.gov – for places to look. Morel hunters are reminded not to go onto private property without permission from the landowner.
Missouri Department of Conservation areas were morel hunters can visit:
• Jim Bridger Conservation Area east of Lake Jacomo. From U.S. 40 and Missouri 7 in Blue Springs, take M-7 south three and half miles, then go west on Wyatt Road.
• Burr Oak Woods State Forest, 1401 N.W. Park Road, Blue Springs.
• The Lipton Conservation Area on 31st Street in Independence. It’s just south of Santa Fe Park.
• James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, 12405 S.E. Ranson Road, Lee’s Summit. That’s south of U.S. 50 and Todd George Road.
• Lone Jack Lake Conservation Area on Brown Road and Old U.S. 50, also called Lone Jack Lee’s Summit Road. It’s northeast of U.S. 50 and Buckner-Tarsney Road.