I noticed someone mentioned Google Earth and some cool tools available there in the growing ginseng section.
Thought I would list a few other sources for maps that I often use when looking over a site I plan to hunt ginseng in. I like to take a printed topo map with me when hunting a site, especially a site I have not hunted before. It is always nice to know what lies ahead when working your way up or down a hollow or along hillsides.
The first site listed below has a nice and easy user interface. You can just drill down into your location and then easily switch between a Standard Map, Topo Map or a Hybrid Image/Map and you can print the maps out in portrait or landscape. I personally use a desktop capture image tool called PrintKey to capture and print exactly what I want.
Check it out when you get a chance.
The satellite images available on the maps.yahoo site below are some of the best I have found. They do not have a Topo layer available but if you want to drill down and view images the ones available there are nice and clear.
I agree to all Google Earth is an excellent tool for hunting seng. I also wanted to mention... If any of you are a pilot or know someone who is being in an airplane definatly has its advantages. I am a private pilot and have found that there are somethings that maps just can't give you that having a birdseye view in present real-time can. I can circle an area of interest as long as needed as well as climb or decend as desired and having up-to-date views can see drainage patterns farming or logging activites and lastly a good location to begin tryin to gain permission if I don't already have it. Lastly it's just really a heck of a lot more fun than sittin behind a computer!!!
Yep an actual fly over would be nice. Unfortunately that is not going to happen for me since I don't have access to a plane or anyone who would be willing to fly me around looking for ginseng hunting spots.
That would be nice.
PS - have you ever spotted a nice 4 prong from your airplane ?
I have spotted nice plants or patches before while driving around a logging road in a jeep, and on another occasion found several nice 3 & 4 prongs from my fishing boat growing just a few feet back from the waters edge.
I can't really recommend any Mountain places to hunt ginseng because I live in Middle TN (not East TN where the Mountains are).
I did find the infomation below online about State/Federal locations in TN:
No ginseng can be harvested on State or Federal land without written permission of the land management agency. Ginseng harvesting is not permitted in State Parks, State Forests, or State Wildlife Management Areas (WMA), except Royal Blue WMA. Ginseng harvesting is not permitted in National Parks, such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Annual permits for harvesting ginseng in Cherokee National Forest may be obtained for a small fee at the District Ranger offices.
Looks like you could check out Royal Blue WMA and Cherokee National Forest.
Here in Middle TN - I am located on the Highland Rim - our elevation normally ranges from a low of around 600-700' to a high of around 1000'. We tend to find most of our ginseng at around the 750' and lower elevations but occasionally if the conditions are right do find it growing higher at times.
I own 230 acres of land myself that has ginseng on it and do some hunting there (and plan to do some growing of wild simulated soon) and I have access to anohter 600 acres of family owned land that I can hunt on when ever I want.
I also have several locations where I have premission to hunt seng - usually a friend or friend of the family. One guy I used to bowhunt with a bit - his mother owns a nice spot that is just loaded with ginseng. I take her some sweet corn and tomatoes each year and she always says just come on down and hunt ginseng when ever you want.
This year I added a new spot to my collection of ginseng hunting places. My brother in law is in on a big 1400 acre hunting lease. It is just him and 3 other guys (Doctors from Nashville). He is the local guy and takes care of the place, keeps the hunting houses cleaned out, and takes care of the food plots, etc - and the Dr's basically pay for the lease. My Brother in law is big into hunting arrow heads and has a huge collection. A month or two ago as he was showing me some of his nice finds I asked if he had ever hunted ginseng and he said NO.
I told him if he liked hunting arrow heads so much he would probably like hunting seng too and he agreed. He is going to take me out to that 1400 acre lease this fall and I am going to teach him how to find seng as we hunt that area + some more land down there that he has permission to hunt on.
Man that is a nice addition to my seng hunting areas for this year. He said as far as he knows no one has hunted ginsen on that lease in at least 20 years.
Anyway - that is how I managed to get a few nice spots to hunt ginseng.
i'm right here at Royal Blue WMA u got to buy permit now to hunt there for 50 bucks..and good luck finding a place that asint been striped mined.. now that the elk are up there u will see more TWRA people up there then u see cops down in town..and u got a atv permit to even be up there are have fishing hunting license...and for cherokee nalt also got to have permit 30 bucks got to point on map to were u'r hunting and no more then 1 lb of wet ginseng can be taking out per day....
Sounds like those two spots may be less than ideal but perhaps if you had no other places to hunt you could at least get out there and try it out some.
A few years ago here in Middle TN there were a couple of large Timber Companies \"Champion and Willamette\" that had owned thousands of acres of timberland here in my area. They would let you buy a permit (around 20.00 best I remember) and do all the hunting you wanted. Most of the guys that bought the permit were deer and turkey hunting, but you could hunt ginseng as well with the permit.
A few years back both of those Timber Co's sold their land and moved out. Not sure why but heard they were afraid that the pine borer beatle would move into this area (like it did in East Tn).
Anyway - is there anything like that in the East TN area where for a reasonably priced permit type fee someone interested in hunting ginseng could get access to lots of company owned timberland ?
Here in Middle TN those timber companies would often harvest the hardwoods (mostly oaks) on the ridge tops and then plant those areas back in pines. The hollow bottoms and steep hillsides they would just leave in hardwoods (which is good for ginseng hunting).
I found a article online that mentions the timber company cheap permit type situation \"26.00\" that I remember that used to be available here in my county. It is a different timber company but similar situation. For 26.00 you go access to thousands of acres of timberland for hunting.
It is no longer available here in my county and may not be anywhere now days. As that article mentions most of the large timber companies in my area sold out and those thousands of acres are privately owned now and many have been converted to private hunting leases.
If you are a Hunter (deer, turkey, etc) and considering participating in a hunting lease - you might shop around for a lease to get in on where the area has good ginseng potential and preferrably a bunch of guys leasing that are strictly game hunters - not ginseng hunters. You would have to keep your ginseng hunting to yourself or you might get some of them started at it and mess yourself up.
i don't know of any big timber co anymore.. most u just call up they come out cut your trees rip u off.. cut stuff u told them not to cut.. go over the prop line cut the guy next door big trees and then gone..
i just look at maps go out start asking people if i can park and go ginsenging most will let u around here and if one dont go next door they let ya noone hunts ginseng anymore around here i know 4 people that hunts and there really not that good..
now i'll go out at 8 am and stay all day untill 5 or 6 dig about 3 lbs wet now i know i don't need to go by myself but i do all the time... most cant keep up with me in the woods... and ive been knowed to say out there for 3 or 4 days at a time. i don't work that's how i make my $$$ for the winter. why i don't work is 8 yrs ago i broke my back in 4 places i built log homes goes to say can't do that anymore also did what billy does roofing..
I find sang in Cherokee National Forest. I don't find much and where I'm at the threat of a wet pound a day would be hard pressed. I don't like them knowing where I'm at when they ask so I just give them a couple miles in either direction I plan on being. I figure when some C.N.F. worker wants to make a buck he can go find his own patch not come dig mine because I \"had\" to tell them.