Interested in mushroom hunting but not quite sure how to get started? The Trails for Two Mushroom Hunting Starter Guide will walk you through how to become a successful mushroom hunter and stay safe while enjoying the nutritious bounty of the earth.
This section will cover what you need in order to start mushroom hunting. The good news is that you need very little!
1. Mushroom Identification Book
If you are brand new to mushroom hunting, you can use our Missouri Mushroom page to help you identify some of the most common mushrooms you might encounter on your excursions. However, if you want to continue hunting for mushrooms in the long-term, we highly recommend buying a good mushroom identification book. Our personal favorite is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. With color images of over 700 mushrooms and detailed descriptions, positively identifying mushrooms with this book is usually a breeze. This guide is also very clear about which mushrooms have poisonous lookalikes to keep you safe when foraging!
2. Sharp Knife
This one sometimes surprises people, but it is very important to bring a sharp pocket knife along on any excursion where you think you might find mushrooms. Proper mushroom harvesting involves cutting the fruiting body at the base of the stalk where it enters the ground. This method helps ensure minimum damage to the mycelium below, allowing the fungus to continue doing its (very important) thing. Reducing mycelium disturbance also increases the likelihood that they will produce more mushrooms soon.
3. Basket or Porous Bag
Hopefully, you will be finding enough mushrooms to need a bag! When collecting mushrooms, a basket or other porous bag is best because it allows the spores to disperse as you move, helping to cultivate more mushrooms. We use a Lucky Mushroom Bag most of the time. Worst case scenario, a paper bag will do the trick, but don’t use plastic bags — the mushrooms won’t last as long.
4. Keen Eyes and Excitement
Finally, but most importantly, you will need your mushroom hunting spirit and a little patience as your eyes get adjusted to looking for mushrooms. Many are hard to spot since they are similar in color to the surrounding woods.
Before heading out on your first foraging expedition, please read our post about How to Safely Forage for Mushrooms. Feel free to reach out to us with mushroom foraging questions or for help with identification. Happy foraging!
Read more about Missouri Mushrooms here.