Besides huckleberries and antlers, what other wonderful treasures await Montana's explorers of the great outdoors?

Well, another one that is synonymous with these types of popular pastimes is mushrooms. And what kind of crop might you expect to find if northwest Montana is on your 'shroom radar?

Our friends at the Kootenai National Forest report that they are expecting an excellent crop of morel mushrooms this year. This is due in part to areas effected by wildfires in 2021. If things hold true to form, morel mushrooms often prove to be in abundance in years after an area has been burned by wildfire.

But other factors are involved as well. The morel mushroom season can vary depending  local weather conditions. But with an overall excellent report and forecast, Kootenai National Forest is expecting an increased number of people coming to harvest the morels. That will include both commercial and personal use pickers.

There are two separate permits needed, one for commercial and one for personal. Even though there is no charge for the personal permits, everyone age 12 and older must have one. Commercial permits can range from $20 - $300, depending on how much harvesting you're hoping to do.

A couple of regions of interest: The South Yaak fire area allows both commercial and personal use mushroom harvesting. The Burnt Peak fire area and other previous fire areas are open for personal use mushroom harvesting only.

The commercial harvesting season opens April 25 and runs through June 30, 2022. For private pickers it's the 2022 calendar year. You can obtain your permits and get other important information on the Kootenai National Forest website.

20 Montana Distilleries You Have to Visit

The Montana distillery scene is certainly taking off, and with the access to local ingredients, you can feel good about supporting these establishments all across the state. Here are 20 distilleries that are worth a visit.