A man quite literally stumbled upon what may be a record-breaking find.
On April 24, Charlie Ware of Old Mines, Missouri, was hunting for turkeys when he almost tripped over a foot-tall morel mushroom.
"I was just walking along and stepped over this mound of dirt,” Ware recalled, as reported by Springfield News-Leader. “And it was pretty much at my feet. I thought, 'No freaking way,' I was totally amazed."
After his discovery, he switched his hunting focus from the turkeys to morel mushrooms. Although he found nine more that day, his first find remained as the most impressive.
"I called my father-in-law because he always talks about how back in the day they would find giant morels everywhere," Ware said. "He said he's never seen anything like that."
The Missouri Department of Conservation visited the family to gather the measurements of the giant mushroom. According to the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page, the specimen is 12 inches tall with a 4.5-inch diameter and a 13-inch circumference -- about the size of a two-liter bottle. The weight was not measured because the mushroom had been soaked in water prior.
“That is massive in morel standards,” said Ron Cook, an administrator for the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page.
The Missouri Department of Conservation does not keep records for morel mushrooms, so it is unknown whether or not Ware’s discovery is the largest ever. Many residents believe that his mushroom should be the first entry to begin record keeping in the state.
“Yes to keeping a morel record book […],” wrote Colton Zirkle. “It would be another way to get people outdoors and interested in the world around them!”
Images of the mushroom have been shared more than 100,000 times throughout both the Missouri Morel Hunting and 417 News Facebook pages. Sarah Ware, Charlie’s wife, posted a comment with an image of the mushroom next to a gallon of milk to compare the sizes, as many people were inquiring whether or not the mushroom was real.
“That is AWESOME!!!” wrote Lisa Parkhill Tenk on the 417 News Facebook page. “That's a once in a lifetime find.”
Ware said the family will eat the mushroom on his 11-year-old son’s 12th birthday.
“Everyone's too busy deciding if it's real or fake and I'm jus chillin here thinking about how delicious that baby would be after you fry it!,” wrote Donny Lauritsen.