But, every time you read about ginseng they want you to believe it wont be around in the future. I think it is nearly impossible to dig an area to where there wont be enough shang to grow back in a few years to being a good patch again. Jail time seems a little harsh. I don't like people digging out of season, but the ones who seem so concerned with the plants survival seem to be harder on it than poachers by allowing over logging an area or strip mining etc.
According to the news article this was the fifth time in a decade that Hurley has been sentenced for illegal possession or harvesting of ginseng. Of course we don't know the circumstances surrounding those other incidents or if there were other incidents where he didn't get caught. Whether harsh or not at least he had fair warning of the consequences. Sounds like all his poaching finally came back on him.
What I found interesting was that the feds are dying the roots to make them unmarketable. This is the first I have heard of this practice. I assume they are only doing this in the GSMNP.