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Competition Heats Up As Montana's Mushroom Season Begins

Competition Heats Up As Montana's Mushroom Season Begins
flickr user Jambeeno
Competition Heats Up As Montana's Mushroom Season Begins

Spring mushroom season has kicked off in Montana. The Flathead National Forest is advising that pickers might need permits.

People from around the world are coming to Montana to collect mushrooms for eating and selling. Amateur mycologist Dean Robbins of Bozeman says many people stake out areas for collecting and growing mushrooms. He says the competition can get a little intense.

"I’ve never been threatened out in the woods, but it’s been indicated to me that, you know, this is my area and I have a gun."

It’s illegal to sell any mushrooms collected on Flathead National Forest land. Robbins says that commercial collectors can sell certain mushrooms for up to $20 a pound. However, there is a bit of a conflict about whether or not commercial collectors should be able to sell mushrooms they collect on public land.

"So there does need to be, I think...some kind of certification, some licensing for commercial pickers. And some places set aside for what I call your weekend warriors. Just for the local people to pick for their own eating."

The U.S. Forest Service advises that people with less experience to read up on local mushrooms or talk to an expert before going mushroom picking. They can be difficult to identify, and they are easy to confuse with poisonous mushrooms.

Find more information about mushrooms in Montana here.

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