Do I Need a Permit for Mushroom Hunting?

Written by Cammi Morgan
Published: February 27, 2024
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If you’re interested in foraging for mushrooms, you may be wondering if you need a permit for mushroom hunting. The answer to this question is dependent on the regulations of the area you intend to forage in. It also can depend on the species of mushroom you’re interested in hunting. Additionally, some park services place limits on the amount you can forage per day or season, with or without a permit.

In this guide, we’ll discuss some of the possible regulations you may come across when hunting mushrooms on public and private land in the U.S.

Read on to learn more.

Do I Need a Permit for Mushroom Hunting in National Parks?

When they do allow foraging, national parks often have strict regulations. Some outright ban mushroom hunting, while others allow limiting, personal use foraging. Researchers may be able to obtain a permit to harvest mushrooms for specific studies, however, regulations will vary by the park. The Olympic National Park, for example, allows visitors to forage one quart of mushrooms per person per day. Additionally, Indigenous tribes may have agreements with national parks for the harvesting of mushrooms for traditional purposes.

Olympic National Park sign in Washington

At the Olympic National Park, you can forage up to one quart of mushrooms per day per person without a permit.

©Adam Reck/

Do I Need a Permit for Mushroom Hunting in National Forests?

Many national forests allow mushroom foraging. However, you’ll find that permit requirements and other regulations can vary significantly.

Allegheny National Forest

For example, the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania does not require a permit for personal use mushroom foraging at the incidental use harvest level. According to reports of mushroom hunters in the region, the incidental use allowance for mushrooms is 2 gallons per adult per day. However, there is no official amount listed by the Allegheny National Forest codes. Instead, the incidental use limit is up to the discretion of the regional forester.

Willamette National Forest

Some national forests require permits for the harvesting of species that are commercially valuable. For example, the Willamette National Forest in Oregon requires a permit for the collection of Western matsutake (Tricholoma murrillianum). This permit costs $8 per day with a 3-day minimum, $100 for a half-season, or $200 for a full season. You can harvest no more than 2/3rd of the mushrooms for a given collection area. This allows the remaining 1/3rd to release spores. Additionally, foragers may not collect matsutake or truffles from areas deemed Late Successional Reserves or within wetland areas.

For mushrooms other than matsutake, no permit is required to gather less than one gallon per person per day. If you wish to gather more mushrooms per day, you can apply for a Free Use permit, which has no fee and allows you to gather up to 2 gallons of mushrooms per person per day for up to 10 days per year. You must also leave at least 1/3rd of the mushrooms (of the same species as being foraged) from a collection area intact to release their spores.

Mushroom hunting in the forest

The Willamette National Forest requires a special permit for the collection of matsutake, but you can collect under one gallon per day of other species without a permit.

©Grusho Anna/

Do I Need a Permit for Mushroom Hunting in Wildlife Management Areas?

Wildlife management areas are often excellent locations for mushroom hunting. WFA land is generally secluded and highly undeveloped, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature as you forage. Rules vary on mushroom hunting on WMAs, but it is generally favorable towards foragers. On Georgia WMA lands, for example, you don’t need to obtain a permit for limited, personal-use foraging of mushrooms. While you typically don’t need a permit specifically to forage, depending on the location, you may, however, need a Day-Use Permit to access the management area. These permits are often inexpensive and typically cost about $5. Note that WFA land is often popular with licensed hunters, so wear a blaze orange vest during hunting season.

Do I Need a Permit for Mushroom Hunting on Private Property?

If you’d like to hunt mushrooms on your own property, you are free to do so without applying for any permits. If you’re interested in foraging on someone else’s private land, you’ll need permission from the landowner to do so. It’s always a good idea to obtain permission in writing- especially if you are hunting for a commercially valuable species. Remember to practice ethical harvesting. Remember, mushrooms are a vital food source for a range of wildlife, and fungi are essential to the health of the planet.

Someone holding basket of foraged wild mushrooms

If you intend to hunt for mushrooms on private property, make sure to obtain permission.


The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Cammi Morgan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on mycology, marine animals, forest and river ecology, and dogs. Cammi has been volunteering in animal rescue for over 10 years, and has been studying mycology and field-researching mushrooms for the past 3 years. A resident of Southeast Appalachia, Cammi loves her off-grid life where she shares 20 acres with her landmates, foster dogs, and all the plants, fungi, and critters of the forest.

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