The 2020 Morel Mushroom Season Summary
As the 2020 season came to a close, it was certainly filled with mixed results for many morel hunters across the U.S. and Canada. As with most morel seasons, often times morel hunters were blessed with the kindness of Mother Nature, and others were not so. The 2020 Season was no exception –nature and the weather can play havoc on the life of the morel! The one often reported status this year was – “earlier than usual”
Also, keep in mind in any given state there could be a two week or more sighting date range from the southern part of any given state to the northern part of that state – it can often be complicated to summarize an entire state.
The southern states kicked off the reporting in mid-to-late February with the first report coming in in from Georgia. Many of the Southeast states were truly blessed this year with very kind weather throughout most of the season. It was mid-March that the season kicked into gear for the Carolinas, TN, AR, and some early reports from southern KY.
Amanda from Cornelius, NC had this to say, “We’ve had a cool, VERY wet spring with a ton of surplus rain. This weekend air temps got into the 70’s over the weekend…”
Most reports were good and many morel hunters in the Southeast region were reporting the morels as being early. As stated in the beginning of this season recap, this “early” trend seemed to be echoed by many. The reports coming in from Virginia were probably summed up by “best year ever”, and many in Tennessee, and North and South Carolina would fall into that same summary.
Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas all seemed to have a very good year as well. Thomas M., from north central Texas had this to say, “Very strong season down in north central Texas. Best season since 2015. I know I told you best since 2016 on my first observation but I was mistaken. 2016 was a wash. Like usual we went out the 3rd week in March but they appeared to have popped up around the 10th-15th this year.”
We have to touch on the northern Southeast states of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia in the Appalachian region. Morel hunters were sending in photos where it seemed it might have been “best year ever” and it was if many almost had an extended season – early and late morels – in abundance too!
Now as we follow the migration pattern into the southern Midwest states of MO, OH, PA, IN and IL this is when the season had a little hiccup and threw a curveball as the season progressed (we’ll get to that). Again, morels making their appearance easily a week or better earlier than years past and reports were really good too. Timely rain, good evening and daytime temperatures and the morels were oh so happy!
Then BAMM! Mother Nature threw a cold snap to morel hunters in much of the Midwest states and decided she’d bring freeze warnings for a couple days at prime time, and it was painful as the morels were migrating northward. Willy, who hunts northwest of Pittsburgh had this to add, “..the morels were a good week early and healthy looking, then BAMM! Freeze warning for a couple days in a row, add snow in there for a couple days in that week and it went to hell. I almost though or I had hoped I’d get another chance at a second season, but just wasn’t the same…”
Let’s get back to the late April early May reports when the cold snap smacked some in the face. It really did depend on where you were geographically, and if the morels were able to rebound. So not everyone was affected by the cold, and it wasn’t the cold snap messed it up as much as it was the lack of rain here-and-there. Seemed as though those folks in the northern Midwest states needed a few good timely rains in their prime time. In states like MI, WI, MN, IA the morels were in their early stages when the freeze happened so the season moved on as it normally would – some just begged for rain – and the biggest complaint for the upper Midwest states might have been simply – “need rain”.
In summary, the morel reports from most of this region were not spectacularly great, but certainly would not be labeled “worst season ever”. The upper northeast states of NY, NH, VT and ME, all seemed to have a pretty decent year according to the sightings reports. There really were not too many complaints. Once again, many were saying “early” morels.