Mushrooms are one of the things that make spring a favorite time of year for many visitors to the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Late April – May is usually the peak season for collecting mushrooms though they can normally be collected for a 4-6 week period after the snow has melted.
Permits Are NOT Required for PERSONAL USE Hikers, campers and other people visiting the Bridger-Teton National Forest may collect up to three gallons of mushrooms per person/ per day. Mushrooms gathered under incidental harvest are for personal use only. Selling or exchanging mushrooms gathered incidentally is a violation of Federal Regulations (Title 36 CFR 261.6F), punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
Commercial Use PERMITS ARE REQUIRED: Commercial Mushroom permits will be available for purchase starting Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Each individual selling or bartering any mushrooms or gathering more than 3 gallons of mushrooms per day is required to have a valid Commercial Permit. All commercial mushroom harvesters must have a commercial permit in their possession while gathering and transporting mushrooms. A 14-day commercial gathering permit costs $300 dollars. When purchasing a permit, commercial mushroom harvesters must present an acceptable form of identification such as a Birth Certificate, Green Card, State ID, Passport, Tribal ID, or other identification issued by a Federal or State Government. Commercial pickers may ONLY harvest in the designated commercial mushroom harvest area and may ONLY camp in the Commercial Mushroom Camping Area designated by the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Commercial mushroom permits will not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 years old. Violation of a commercial mushroom permit may result in fines and/or the termination of the permit.
Morels are some of the more popular but there are a few edible varieties on the Forest. Any novice should consult books or an expert before eating any mushrooms they collect since many types look similar to mushrooms which can be toxic.
Mushrooms are the fruiting body of a fungi which grows as a complex mat layer in the top soil layers. The mushrooms we collect will naturally mature and release spores. Morels increase in size as they age and their growth depends on the moisture, temperature, and fertility of the soil.
There are no sure-fire ways to find mushrooms. They are often elusive, but generally if you've found them in an area in the past, they are likely to be there again. With mushrooms, you should enjoy the looking as much as the picking, or you'll not last longer as a mushroom hunter.
Anyone collecting and eating mushrooms should be extremely cautious and ensure the mushrooms they've gotten are safe.
The common morel shown here emerges in mid-season and is the most popular and common of the morels. These may be found singularly or in small patches.
The black morel is the earliest true morel to appear and is the most likely to be found in large quantities in a single place. Prefers areas with ash trees. They have a mild flavor when young, but the flavor gets stronger after they mature, at which time they're fragile and crumbly. Although dark in color, they are difficult to see on sunny days.
The false morelis not a true morel but looks similar. Illness and death have resulted from eating this fungus although some people can tolerate them quite well. They are found early in the season and can become very large. They are also known as red morels or elephant ears.
How many mushrooms can I harvest?
An individual may collect up to one gallon of mushrooms per day for personal use without a permit.
Where can I harvest mushrooms?
Any area that is open and accessible and free from current travel restrictions or closure areas may be explored for mushrooms.
Which mushrooms are safe to eat?
Many wild mushrooms are very poisonous. It takes more information than can be displayed on this page to tell the poisonous mushrooms from the edible varieties. We recommend showing your mushrooms to an expert before attempting to eat any wild mushroom or fungus.
Restrictions on use
You are forbidden to sell or trade mushrooms gathered for personal use.
Remember, raking the duff or litter layer can ruin mushrooms and destroy future crop potential. Think of others take only what you can use. Leave the rest for others.