Morels bringing families outdoors

Eric LaPaugh looking at dehydrated morel mushrooms he found last year with his 3 year old son Hayden.

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) —For many people, it’s their favorite Michigan spring time activity. Hunting for morel mushrooms can be time consuming, but also rewarding.

“It’s absolutely therapeutic,” said Eric LaPaugh. “You’re searching for something, you’ve got that excited feeling.”

LaPaugh is a lifelong lover of the outdoors. He even started his own outdoor company called Leelanau Adventures, which of course, offers morel hunts.

“You can see one of our past clients there came out and we found a bunch of morels," he said while showing off pictures on the front of his morel hunting guide. "We cooked them right out there in the woods.”

LaPaugh knows exactly what to look for, which is why in his morel hunting guide, he points out the difference between what’s real and what isn’t.

“You can see how this stem goes all the way up, connects with the cap, and goes all the way down, that's a true morel," LaPaugh explained. "A false morel... the stem doesn't connect with the cap at the base, it comes up like an umbrella. That's a false morel.”

While LaPaugh says it’s still a little too early in the season to find morels, he’s out anyway, instilling in his son the same love of the outdoors that his grandfather taught him when he was a kid.

“I bring my children all the time and it’s a way for us to connect," he said. "It’s a memory they’ll have for their entire life."

To contact Leelanau Adventures, you can find all the info on their Facebook page HERE. The Michigan DNR has also released a map that shows areas where morels are most likely to be found.