FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 1999
MUSHROOM HUNTING A POPULAR SPRINGTIME ACTIVITY IN OHIO
COLUMBUS, OH -- While many outdoor enthusiasts take to Ohio's forests during spring to enjoy wildflowers or pursue wild turkeys, a growing number are in search of wild mushrooms. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), a variety of edible mushrooms emerge in Ohio forests during April and May.
"Ohio woodlands provide excellent habitat for mushroom hunting, especially in the eastern part of the state," said Lynn Boydelatour, chief naturalist for ODNR's Division of Parks & Recreation.
The most common edible mushroom sought in Ohio is the morel or sponge-mushroom. Abandoned orchards and areas with ash or elm trees are often the most productive areas for mushroom seekers. Wild mushrooms typically grow under the cover of leaves, dead wood and other forest debris, quickly emerging after a moderate or heavy rain.
"Although mushrooms can be found in areas where they have not previously appeared, it is not uncommon for veteran mushroom hunters to guard their favorite areas with the same level of secrecy that others use to protect favorite fishing holes," Boydelatour said.
Boydelatour recommends that mushroom hunters obtain a field guide or other book to help identify edible mushrooms that are safe to eat. "Some mushroom species are poisonous and can cause severe illness or even death if consumed. Mushroom seekers should be careful and accurately identify species to determine whether or not they are edible," he said. Beginners are advised to accompany an experienced mushroom hunter, who can correctly identify various types of mushrooms.
Mushroom hunting is permitted at all 20 state forests in Ohio, encompassing more than 200,000 acres. Many state park areas also allow mushroom hunting, however individuals should contact park officials for specific rules and restrictions that may apply to each facility. Off-trail hiking is prohibited at some state parks, including John Bryan, Nelson-Kennedy Ledges and Hocking Hills State Park, unless a permit is first obtained.
The annual mushroom hunt at Tar Hollow State Forest in Vinton County will be held April 24, with several mushroom-hunting seminars scheduled throughout the day. For more information, call the Ohio Division of Forestry at (740) 774-1596.
Those in search of mushrooms should also note that Ohio's wild turkey hunting season will be open in 57 counties from April 26 through May 16. Legal turkey hunting hours are one-half before sunrise to noon. Much of Ohio's prime turkey habitat contains an abundance of wild mushrooms.
For Further Information Contact:
Lynn Boydelatour, Division of Parks & Recreation
Dana Gamble, Division of Forestry (Chillicothe Office)
ODNR Media Relations