Charlie Ware was turkey hunting Sunday near Old Mines, a small community south of St. Louis, when he practically tripped over a mushroom lover's dream: a morel that stood just over a foot tall.
"I was just walking along and stepped over this mound of dirt. And it was pretty much at my feet," he said. "I thought, 'No freaking way.' I was totally amazed."
With that, he said he abandoned the turkeys he could still hear gobbling and began looking for more morels. He found nine more, but none that compared to the first one.
Ware said he is not sure of the weight because it is soaking in water to preserve it.
Photos of the mushroom were shared on the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page Monday morning. By Tuesday afternoon, the post had more than 3,200 likes.
Ware's original Facebook post has been shared more than 15,400 times. Ware said he is getting messages from morel lovers from all over the world.
"I called my father-in-law because he always talks about how back in the day they would find giant morels everywhere," Ware said, laughing. "He said he's never seen anything like that."
A Missouri Conservation officer visited the Ware home Tuesday to see the mushroom. Ware said he is waiting to hear if it's a Missouri record, or if the Conservation Department even keeps track of such things.
Ron Cook is an administrator for the Missouri Morel Hunting Facebook page.
“I've never seen one that tall with that much girth. (Ware’s wife) just told me that it's 12 inches tall with a 4 ½ inch diameter, and a circumference of 13 inches. That is massive in morel standards,” Cook said in a Facebook message.
Ware said the family is looking forward to eating the morel at his 11-year-old son's birthday party this weekend.