Forget the pandemic, 2020 is the year of the morel

Jasi Butler shows off a morel found in Upshur County bigger than her head…in fact, it was the size of a gallon jug of milk

BUCKHANNON, W.Va. — It’s been a crazy year and it’s only May. That statement has surely been repeated often in recent weeks, but we’re not talking about worldwide Covid 19 pandemic, being quarantined in our home, or using a newspaper for a lack of toilet toilet paper. It’s been a crazy year for mushrooms–particularly the much sought after morels.

“Especially on the large yellow morels,” said Shon Butler of Buckhannon.

Shon along with his wife Chrissy and young daughter Jasi were turkey hunting in April in Upshur County with another youngster. On the ride back home, they spotted morels growing along the trail under a dying elm tree.

“When they pop they pop heavy and there were 38 under that tree and none of them were small,” Butler said.

The largest of the morels found in that bunch was roughly the size of Jasi’s head.

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go in West Virginia the results are similar.

“If you find one you find 50 and none of them are small,” said Grant Harsh of Preston County.

Grant Harsh with a load of morels he found in Monongalia County in recent days.

He offered a massive display on his Facebook page of the fruit of the forest he had stumbled across in Monongalia County. Harsh, a forester by trade, offered the weather has been perfect for them to thrive this spring.

“It’s not been too hot to dry them out and there’s been a lot of rain,” he added.

Butler agreed, but also said the mild winter likely played a big role in the haul of morels we’re now finding.

“We started finding morels early in the year, around the second or third week of March and the first ones we found were about 2,800 feet in Randolph County. Normally we don’t find morels around this area until about April 15th, but we had about a month head start this year. We’ve had mild nights and as long as that soil temperature stays in the 40 to 50 degree range, you’re going to have morels.”

T.J. Mullins from Kanawha County just returned to the Mountains from the Army. He too found the biggest haul he had ever seen.

T.J. Mullins, just home from the Army, found this haul near his old stomping grounds in Kanawha County

“Once you found some, they were everywhere and they were big,” he said.

Author Bill Roody, who literally wrote the book on mushrooms in West Virginia and the Central Appalachians, agrees it’s been quite a year for morel hunters.

“Indeed we are having a better than average morel season this spring…oh boy!” he offered.

Roody and Butler will be guests on Saturday’s West Virginia Outdoors on MetroNews Radio and streaming here at


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