An Introduction to Hunting and Identifying Wild Mushrooms

Hunting wild mushrooms is a wonderful pastime that will help build your cardiovascular health as you hike around seeking them out.  It is also a great form of therapy when the hunt takes you into the purest of nature's wilderness.  Wild mushroom hunting comes with a warning though; even the most experienced expert mycologists have fallen prey to poisonous mushrooms, some lethal.  Many mushrooms cannot be identified by looks alone, you must pay close attention to detail, and in some cases, it is sometimes necessary to view the spores under a microscope to make a solid ID.  Before deciding to eat a wild find, make sure that you have properly identified it, and post some pictures on hunting and ID forums for a few extra opinions.  It is estimated that less than 1/3 of world's mushrooms have been classified and named, so if you're enthusiastic and dedicated, the chances of getting to name your own mushroom are actually pretty good!  Here are a few links that will help you in identifying wild mushrooms.

Pacific Northwest Key Council
Mushroom Expert
MycoKeys Morphing Mushroom Identifier
Mushroom Observer
Audubon Field Guide

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