Local Man Takes Mushroom Hunting to New Level

Published 05/14 2013 09:18PM

Updated 05/14 2013 11:00PM

(OREGON, Mo.) The Spring turkey season has already wrapped up, but there is one hunt that is still open and it has made one local man royalty.

Tom Weipert has dedicated his life to mushrooms.

"Before I could tie my shoes, I was hunting morels," Weipert said.

Since that time, he's been dubbed the Mushroom King.

It is evident that mushrooms are his passion once you look around his garage and see hundreds of them in stacked boxes, or just by checking out his tattoo featuring a few morels.

That fever for the fungus has spread through his family.

"All of my kids do mushroom hunt, and even my granddaughter who is seven now."

His career path toward mushrooms started while he was working as a chef. He knew there was a demand for them.

"People were like, 'Can you get morels?' And I'm like, 'Yeah I can get morels. But they're not even out yet.' So I started going earlier and earlier and earlier."

Since that point in his life, the Mushroom King has traveled all over the country -- from Texas to Michigan and California -- hunting morels and other mushrooms, all while perfecting his craft.

"It's not just, 'Hey there's a mushroom there.' There's a symbiotic relationship," Weipert said of mushroom hunting. "They live with trees, and there's a they're there, and there is a reason they fruit."

His reputation is spreading. Next year he'll fly to Greece to test his hunting skills over seas.

"It would be fun to go to another country. It's always a challenge. I'm not saying it's easy here, but I know the trees and that's what makes it easy."

If you would like to learn more about mushroom hunting in Missouri, go to the website morelhunters.com.

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