So this will be my third year digging come September, and like many, I find myself going deeper into the woods each year. I would assume that quite a few on this forum hunt seng all on their own and was looking to pool some experinces and info from your you guys. I for one hunt by myself maybe 50% of the time because 1) dont have anyone to go with/ conflicting schedules. 2) I enjoy long trips into new territory, and dont have a buddy that can keep up to get where i need to go and get back by dark. 3) Some digging spots are my own personal honey holes.
The reason for the thread is to see how many of you do hunt on your own, what you bring with you(gear), and any negative or positive experiences you've had while doing so. Covering new territory solo can have it rewards as well as its hospital trips. So how do you guys feel on the matter knowing the patch of a lifetime could be just over the next mountain? I look forward to the input.
I do the same thing. It's important to tell someone what area you are going to hunt in just in case you get injured or something. I always tell my better half what area I will be going to just in case. I figure that way they would have a better chance of finding me if something were to happen. Might take them a while when I am in deep but it's better than nothing.
If getting very far off the road in unfamiliar territory I usually have my backpack with GPS, compass, firestarter, a knife and some water. I've been turned around a time or two and had to resort to the GPS and compass to get me headed back in the right direction. I always carry some water in warm weather and often times have a side arm just in case of a rabid coyote or stumbling across someone tending their meth lab or what not.
I'd like to get to some unfound spots where nobody had been in 50 years, but those type of places are hard to find nearby
Most of the places I go to I am pretty familiar with and quite frankly are not way, way back in the hills. A lot of properties have been divided up and sold and a lot of houses have been built in the past 30 years.
I've never had any serious mishaps. A couple of falls and a stoved up back is about the worst for me. I have been stung by bees and run across a few snakes. All the other insect bites and such are pretty common.
Hey Guys this looks like the start of a good topic! I too use the buddy system as I always go into the woods alone, I let my wife know where abouts I will be hiking. Im always packin water, Bee bit dabbers, and a side arm. I dont know how many times ive thought I was alone in GODS great country only to watch aanother person walk across the ridge below me, or stumble across a Dopper or their Cash crop. As a cop im here to tell you in my career I have man-hunted, Chased dope heads,recovered stolen property,confiscated Patches of dope, and this has always been out in the woods. So always be aware of your surroundings. The Craigslist Killers burried that guy 12 miles from my house and In the 90s We had the cereal killer known as The Outdoor sportsmen killer down here in our county also. So guys be carefull!
I have been hunting mostly alone the past 2 years.
I do have a nephew that I hunt with occasionally, and at times I will hunt on another persons property that wants to go along and I will hunt with them, teach them how to find it, show them where to plant it if they are interested in planting wild simulated, etc.
When ever I hunt with my nephew or when hunting on someone elses land, I always make sure they understand up front that we are splitting the find 50/50.
When someone else lets me hunt on their property, I split it with them 50/50.
When I hunt with my nephew we split it 50/50.
That ends the \"I saw that one first\" and the \"hogging all of the good zone\" stuff... you just work together as a team and get all you can find and then split it. That makes for a more enjoyable hunt and avoids all of those \"issues\" at bay. If I find a big patch, I holler at my partner and he comes over and helps me dig it, or if he finds a big patch, same thing. You can actually end up harvesting more seng that way since you are working together.
We just put it all out on the truck tail gate when done and split them up into two piles. Making sure all of the large nice roots are split evenly in those two piles. We make the piles as even as possible, then flip a coin to see who gets to pick first.
Or if I make the piles, I let them pick the pile they want first.
That is absolutely fair, you can't complaine about that.
We don't have any bears here in Middle TN, like they do over in East TN. I don't even carry a gun, although I do have a pistol I have carried at times, but found the extra weight was hard on me after a while so I quit taking it.
I do have a long handle seng digger, and it serves as a walking stick, snake killer, could sure be used to defend yourself if needed.
I carry a GPS, so getting lost is not a issue. Also use the GPS for marking patches that I want to return to, or places I may want to plant seed in later on.
I always carry a fanny pack, with lots of water and gator aide, a can of beenie-weenie's, cookies, granola bar, cheese/cracker, etc...
Although I have never smoked, I always carry a bic lighter, and always have my pocket knife. Fire and a Knife are just basic survival tools and since my days on the river trapping (back in the 80's) I have just never felt good going out anywhere without a knife and a lighter. I always have those in my pocket.
Worst that has ever happened to me was one day I was hunting seng up on a bluff, in some thick weedy stuff, and ran right up on a bee tree (wild honey bees). A few of them got after me since I was right on the bee tree before I noticed them, and well I tried to run away. Running on a very steep bluff, with lose rocks, and logs and weeds thick, is not a good idea at all. I tripped and tumbled down the hill and smacked my head on the side of a log. Almost knocked myself out, saw stars a bit, but just sit down a while and got better, then continued to hunt more.
There is no doubt that what we do is dangerous, and even more so risky if you hunt alone.
When I do hunt alone I always print off a topo map, and mark my route on it, and leave it on the bar for my wife - so she knows where I am going. Now she could not find me if I did not return, but my nephew and brother could.
If you are hunting alone, I would advise you to make sure someone knows where you are going. You may not be able to tell someone that is a seng hunter, but tell your wife or girlfriend, or some friend that is not a seng hunter - leave them a topo map, mark your expected route - that could save your life for sure.
I never thought to even mention it, but like Cpdunit1, I'm a cop and carry all the time. If I'm going to be out deeper, I carry a fullsize pistol, and if not, I always have a Ruger 380 LCP in my pocket. When I'm working in my patches, I often carry a Walther P22 in a strapped hip holster. Weighs almost nothing and the thumb break strap keeps it from falling out while I work. 22 Stingers are sufficient for most critters, and 10 of them without recoil just as fast as I can pull the trigger -and as a last resort- could solve some of the two legged beast issues I might be unfortunate enough to run into.
I hunt 90 o/o of the time with my nephew or 1 or both of my sons and sometimes i take guests with me,very rare do i hunt alone.When we hunt all the ginseng that we dig is one bag,one day i may dig a pound or more and one of them get 8 or 9 ounces and the next day that might reverse but at the end of the day there is one bag.Of course it is simpler for us because I am a dealer and whatever there part of the bounty is i pay them for it,unless someone is drying some and then we just weigh that part out for them...
I do not use a gps but highly recomend that any one hunting in the woods should use one just in case they need it.The Lord has blessed me very good in directions of the Mountians,I do not know how to exsplain it but I know my way in the woods and out without help,just the mountians and the sun with observation is all that i have ever needed,but my sons and my nephew do not go like that without me,if i am sick or not able to go when my back is bad they would take a gps.My nephew has often told me Uncle Bill i do not know how you can remember so many places.
I/we always take more water than we need,we also take crakers potted meat or something of that sort in a backpack.I also no many things in the mountians to eat from berries to roots to leaves and mushrooms we enjoy mountian food nearly every trip in the woods some of my favorite are ,berries,crows foot,bears lettuce,wild peaches,apples,and many more.Our Mountians have many water supplys as well.It is not unusal to come across a natural spring from time to time.I know where many such places are.
I have about 60 different areas that I hunt changing every year and not returning to a spot/area till the 3rd year and if all is well stay there in that area and if some poacher or unwise digger has ruined a area i plant seed,then i move to the next area,i remember all of these areas in my mind and do not have them wrote down or in a gps.My sons and nephews have learned alot of these places by heart but Johnny does have a list just in case.
I think the worst thing that ever happened to me in the woods was once i walked up to place in the mountian where it was divded by a big wash out/drain it was about 10 ft deep and 10 to 12 foot wide,well i was decideing where the easyer/better way to cross was i saw a spot that seemed good and i was walking up to the edge to look down and cross when all of a sudden the earth gave beneath my feet the water at some time had got to the top edge and had washed out the ground under the bank and there was some roots that had kept enough dirt in place to have weedsplants still growing on the top of the root,but when something heavey as a man steped upon the roots the earth just went.There was a big oak root and my leg wenbetween the root and the ground behind me and i stoped going dow when my feet caught ground beneath me about 2 1/2 foot below,my weight shifted me from the fall towards the drop down of the washout,i give the lord thanks for helping me because i do not know how that i did it but i forced myself tobalance and pull my weight back towards the bank behind me ( thank God for the root being strong enough to support my pull ) all the fall and the weight and pressure was on my right leg about the knee area.It should have broke my leg into literaly and let me fall into the washout,but it did not.I was able to get back up on the bank behind me,but i was sevearly hurt,it messed my knee up from that time on unto this day,that has been about 4 years ago now.I was able to get out of the Mountian but it took me awhile and I couldnt hardly wak for about 2 weeks.
Other than that bee stings,ticks,nats,skeeters,briars,snakes etc have always been on my non desirable list but not one or all of those things have ever moved me not to hunt ginseng,and not only ginseng but all of the other herbs that i love to hunt and just being in the mountians alone is enough in ts self with all of the beauty there is no better life.
Good info fellas, Sounds like we are do similar things. I didn't mention it but I leave maps for my better half at times too besides telling her where I am going. I have often thought about packing a sidearm but haven't thus far. I use a 12 inch screw driver to dig and it would provide some protection but would be like bringing a knife to a gun fight if I ran into the wrong element. I can't believe I have not walked up on someones illegal patch or moonshine cooker. I hope that never happens.
I have taken a few spills myself over the years. The worst was when I was younger crossing a deep gorge. There was a big tree spanning the gorge and I walked across it. Slippery old tennis shoes and a mossy log do not mix well. I fell a good 10 to 15 feet landing in the creek bed. Luckily I was much younger and the screw driver landed flat underneath me. Now days I do not take short cuts like that plus I were boots.
I do not use a GPS but need to get one. Once again when I was younger I could go in miles deep and always come out somewhat close to where I went in. I know you guys have the same ability and I can't explain how to do it. I do think I am still pretty good at it but have got turned around a couple of times in the last couple of years. Especially when there are multiple creek beds and hills. Sometimes they tend to turn and if ya get in the wrong holler it might take you for a twist. So a GPS is something I am going to invest in.
Good luck fellas,