Thought it might be interesting to see how much time the different seng hunters here actually get to spend hunting seng and how much seng (dry pound) you hope to harvest this year or usually harvest.
I don't usually get to hunt seng on week days or Sundays so Saturdays and days I take off work are normally all I get to spend out there hunting seng.
A typical seng hunting trip for me will start soon after daylight (as soon as it is light enough to see em well) and we pack a light lunch and will stop and rest/eat around noon a little while and then may hunt another hour or two and then head on back home.
Aug 15 (season opener for me) is on a Sunday, and the first day I will actually get to go is Tuesday Aug 17 (took a day off work for that). Around the second week in October (usually) it is too far gone to find.
Counting Saturdays and days I took off work I have 13 possibly 14 days to get out there and hunt.
Last year it was about the same. I went seng hunting 14 times and ended up with just shy of 4 lbs dry. A couple of those trips last year were short evening hunts - probably only spent a couple hours each on those. On a morning hunt we tyipcally stay at it for 5-6 hours.
Im a roofing contractor been doing that for 22 years.I never know how many days I will get to go.Some years if work is slow I average 2 days a week and 1 weekend day,but when work is solid I am lucky to get 1 day.Then there is the rain days when I can not roof and since I love to hunt in the rain (so long as it isent a thunder storm because of lightning) those days can fit in at any time so I would say 2 days a week most of the time but some weeks 3 days.
I always set my goal for 10 pounds dry of wild seng and since I am just starting woodsgrown this year with startified seed,it will continue to be all wild seng harvest`s for sevral more years,but once the woods grown kicks in I will lower that goal to 5 pounds a year.
Three years ago I didnt get to hunt as I would like to a busy work schedule and not enough calm rain showers,I dug 4 sounds dry.Two years ago I dug just a little over 10 lb: Last year I got to go hunt a reasonable amount of time,but fell short by 9 ounces with 9lb 7 ounces.
Every one of those seasons where great seasons and I felt very blessed with all that was giving to me the seng,mushrooms,crowsfoot,bears lettuce,ramps,deer,turkey & polk salad.
The good Lord must have thought of us when he created the Mountians and all that in them is and I thank him constantly for his treasures that most of this world never see.
4 lbs dry is usually my goal for ginseng but I've put a lot more time into getting the 4lbs I've been getting past few years. You fellas must be in some good territory and going deep and finding bigger roots. My job for the past years has been in the woods from ramp season to walnuts so while ginseng is in season I'm also still trying to get the most of whats left of the growing season in cohosh yellow root bloodroot and yams. So I'm lucky to get to ginseng hunt where I work at, \"Yellow Root Hunting Inc.\" headquarted out yonder. I heard today that it will probably start at 350.00 this year probably 320.00 for kentuckians. CAN\"T WAIT/NEED NEW TIRES !
Absolutely agree with you on all the GOOD stuff the Lord God has provided us with in nature. Behind my house about 1/2 mile there is a 50' water fall and I take my kids down there several times a year and let them play at the bottom of the falls. Last fall we were down there around the 2nd week of October and right beside the trail we work our way down to get to the bottom of the falls there were 2 nice 3 prongs growing, both had red berries and the leaves were so pale they were almost white.
Talk about a bueatiful site - man that is it !
I helped my son dig the roots and we planted the berries back. I marked the spot and those berries should germinate this comming spring. I am going to take him back down there around May 1 and see those little 3 leafers that will hopefully be up growing.
I am also going to get him involved in helping me plant some stratified seed this fall/winter.
Passing on the tradition !
Congradulations on reaching or getting near that 10 lb mark. Man that is a lot of seng. I expect up there in the mountains you may have more and probably larger seng than we do (if you can get back in those remote places where most don't venture).
Hope you get several slow-drizzel rainout days this fall and reach that 10 lb goal.
I will be happy with 4 lbs myself.
Papa - Last year I went on 14 dig's and did not keep up with the exact time spent on each, but I would expect the average to be around 4-5 hours. If I take 14 x 4.5 = 63 hours digging time. I had 3.775 dry pounds of seng when we sold.
Best I remember we sold the second week in November and at that time our buyer was offering 380.00/lb. My check was 1427.00.
1427.00 / 63 hrs = $22.65 hr.
Not a bad hourly rate - expecially when you consider how much I enjoy getting out and doing it and the good exercise you get.
I would say that on the average hunt we come home with around 1 pound of green, some days less others more. The best hunt of my life (so far) happened a couple years ago when me and my hunting partner went to a new place and started finding seng around 8 am and quit digging around 1:30 and together we had 6 lbs 3 oz of green. Man that was a hunt !
If every hollow we went into had seng like that, I might get close to that 10 pound mark like Billy does
I try to hunt every day untill dear hunters get in the woods.. then i cut back just on week days prob 2 times a week..
anywere from 10 to 20 dry lb by mid Nov i'm done....( this year its goning to be early ) 60 % of berries are gone now..
Last year me and a friend of mine went every day of september and october except maybe a couple of sundays. My friend and I ended up with 21 pounds dry last year. we usually always go out together and we always split what we find. that way we don't get mad when one of us calls the other over to look at a nice plant and the guy that got called over ends up finding more ginseg in that area than the other guy. We started doing this after the first year of hunting together. It's too much of a competition when you're out with someone else, not as enjoyable. There are days that we might go out alone, in that case we still split it.
I don't expext we'll find anywhere near 21 dry pounds this year, though. We had some really good days where people let us on their property and they turned out to be gold mines.One guy let us hunt his land every day for a week and we ended up digging about 3 wet pounds a day. Another place we went to had so much ginseng on it that it wasn't even like hunting it, the guy who owned that property said he knew it was there but didn't care to dig it himself. He didn't look like he wanted to get dirty. He was still very nice, though. I think we probably dug close to 10 wet pounds out of that place. So we got lucky last year. The year before we dug about 10 pounds dry and I would be thrilled to get that much this year. The thing about Indiana is the season starts Sept. 1st and usually about two weeks in, everything begins to turn yellow. so the season is very short.
That is a good idea - digging together and splitting the results 50/50.
When ever you do hunt with someone else it can sort of get to be a competition and less enjoyable. My hunting partner and I have experienced that. On some trips I find all of the big patches and on others he does and that can sort of leave one or the other feeling down.
I think it is good to hunt with a partner, a lot safer too, never know when a freak accident might happen and cell phones don't often work down in the hollows we dig seng in. We can usually get up to the top of a ridge and get reception but with a broken leg or some other serious injury that could be very difficult.
How do you handle - who keeps the ginseng, washes & drys it ?
I guess you could split that 50/50 as well. Taking turns each trip then putting it all in one pile when you go to sell.
I am going to suggest this to my hunting partner this year and see how it goes.
Years ago (late 70's and 80's) I used to do a lot of trapping. I had a partner on that too and we would float a 10-14 mile stretch of a local river (different locations) and at first we would flip a coin to see who got the right or left side. Then he would set his traps on his side, me on my side.
We finally figured out that we could do much better when we just worked together and split the results 50/50. When we started working together, as I was setting a trap on my side, he would set one nearby (setting doubles) and that made it much more efficient. We could get out many more sets and ended up with many more coon, mink, fox, etc..
Hey - if some of you seng hunters are (or used to be trappers) as I did - you might enjoy a old Pic I have saved. This is from 1987 and we caught those on a weekend float on a local river.
PS - in 3 weekends that December 1987 we caught 103 coons and 67 muskrats and other critters as well, a few beaver, fox and a nice bobcat too. In the 4th weekend the river was up and we could not set. You can only trap coon during the month of December here.
That water falls sounds very good and I know the kids just love that trip every time.Im glad you get to enjoy such beauty with them and just as important you love and appreciate it thats what makes it so good.Loved the picture of the animals that was a great run.T/F/S that.
I would have to say that I am very blessed when it comes to big Mountians and Lots of them in Bell and Harlan County I could never cover 1/8th of the good Northern slopes in any season with my digging buddy and my two sons going as often as we can because of the way the country is laid out and partly because Ive been in these Mountians since I was a boy and have learned so many trails and hollows from my Elders some who have passed on and some from my own adventures that I am passing on to my sons.Also there is likely 1000 diggers besides me in this country and with us all we could never hunt all the Mountian area here.My favorite Mountians that I hunt are the ones I have permission to hunt by land owners and operators.If I could hunt full time during the season and not work my regular job I still could not cover the areas I know,but if we could hunt like that we could harvest 20 pounds dry wild every year most likely and still dig every year.We are very good to make sure we leave the Mountian with respect and appreciation and that pays off in the same hollers every 3rd to 4th season.
Each year we hunt a different layout of maps that I haver made and then we skip 3 to 4 years before that map section is redug.We never dig any plants that are not nice and mature I have passed many three prongers.And we always plant the seed every one,we never just toss them out on the ground or in the thickets even the seng we leave and do not dig we still pick and plant the berrys.I do remember Caleb finding a two prong that was knee hi and had over a foot wide spread that was amazing to me so I let him dig it,the root was as big as a nice 4 pronger,butt hat has only happened twice in my life that we found something like that.There is a picture of that plant on one of the threds.
I am realy excited about planting my first stratified seed.I know im going to love that.
TNhunter, I usually just keep all the roots at my house to dry. We usually come back and have a beer and wash the roots. I keep them because I have more room at my place. There has never really been a trust issue since we've known each other for well over a decade now.
We started a 50/50 split about three years ago because we kept digging \"out of each others pocket\" as we call it. He or I will find a nice four pronger and call the other over to look at it and in the process the guy who was called over will find a few plants right around where the other guy is digging. So now, who get's those plants? The guy that called the other guy over would have surely found the other plants had he not called his buddy over in the first place. Also, if you're out with a friend and you're not finding anything and your friend is digging like crazy it's hard not to gravitate toward his area. Just human nature, I guess. Hard feelings can develope even between the best of friends. Plus, if one of you find a big patch (and we've found some good ones) it's easier to get down and help with the digging when you know it's half yours.
We also split if one of us goes out alone. The reason for this is because we hunt in the same areas. If he gets stuck at work and can't go out for a few days it's not fair for me to go dig out an area that we have both scouted. I have been out alone and dug several pounds wet on more than one occasion and I will always call and tell him to stop by and see the roots I dug that day. He has done the same thing for me many many times.
I would recommend that anyone hunting with a partner do a split. In our case we are pretty even on ability and we both go out about as frequently. It just does away with the stress of the competition. I don't want to stress when I'm out doing something I really enjoy.
Also, it is very good practice to have a partner just for the safety factor. There are a thousand things that can go wrong when you're deep in the woods and maybe an hour or two from a road. I have taken several bad spills out there, as I am sure many of you have. No matter how careful you are, something could happen. You could step on a wet log and break your leg as I have almost done many times. No broken bones yet, but I have messed my day up a few times by not watching where I step. And if you're an hour from the road and way back at the bottom of a hill you're in trouble.
Also, I have run into some rather wild characters while deep in the woods. I know that on one occasion I would have had some trouble if I had been alone. I just think going out with a buddy is safer and more fun once you eliminate the competition factor.