I just learned yesterday that the TN digging law is about to be changed. It is more or less on the Governor's desk but just hasn't been signed yet. As was Kentucky's changed last year, our digging season will be delayed until September first as well. The federal government threatened to shut our season down altogether if TN didn't comply so... the Seng bug will now have to bite a couple weeks longer I guess.
I heard that last fall from the contact at the State that I get my dealers list from. She said it was going to happen same as it did in KY, with Sept 1 being our opening date when it was passed.
I am OK with that myself.
Between Aug 15 and 30 a lot of plants just don't have red berries yet, some have a few red and the rest green, but many are still all green. Usually by Sept 1 the majority are red.
Last year I did not hunt the first week of our season because of the green berry issue. Then we had a extremely short season in my area because of the drought. It was so hot and dry that our seng just all died out by around Sept 1. I have several red oak trees around my place here where last fall the leaves turned brown in the top half of the tree (did not look like fall colors, just brown dead look). This spring those trees have some green leaves on the lower branches but the top's are dead, no leaves came out this spring. It did not seem to bother white oaks or chestnut oaks or hickory or many other trees, but I have seen several Red oaks that did that. They must not be hardly as tuff or drought hardy as the others. I have a nice big red oak in my back yard and the top 2/3 of the tree is dead (no leaves this year).
Hope we have a much better fall this year and the seng last long for us.
I got a letter from pa dcnr. They are trying to pass a Sept 1st season here in pa also. The letter stated that as of now the season is Sept 1st but not yet made official. At least that's what think it said. It was real formal and I'm a redneck. Lol. So I had to translate.
Our season was always august first. I usually started around 15th or so. Last year I found quite a few plants that had started to drop berries by end of august. I think august first is to early though.
I agree, That Sept 1st should be the digging date. Usually ginseng in the wild doesn't have the red berries until then. Now plants from stratified seed that has come from farther north has berries a lot sooner but that's a different story.
But yes Sept 1st.
What really hurts the ginseng population is illegal digging and selling to another poacher that has the money and usually buys it for half price. This happens a lot all through the year. Really makes it hard on the honest person.
You are right that those that dig before season really hurt the population. They don't care if the seng has had a chance to produce berries, they dig in May, June, July and even when they do dig in season they probably don't bother to plant the red berries, and probably collect every 2 prong they find too.
I wish they would do more to discourage out of season digging too.
In TN - I think the fine is 500.00, but it is very difficult to catch someone digging seng out of season and I don't think they actually try to very much.
With the change to Sept 1 for opening day of season, I wish they would bump up that fine from 500.00 to 10,000.00. That might put enough fear into some of those old boys to make em stop that stuff. If one of them ever got caught and had to pay a stiff fine like that, the rest would sure think twice before digging out of season again.
As a seng hunter that's being a good steward and respecting the season, we should report to the officials any time we hear or know of someone digging out of season too. I think it was Chiefton that did that last year and had some luck at it.
The best way to catch and get a poacher fined is to set up trail cams and spend the time it takes to catch them yourself then do not act on your own contact the dep of ag and officials and have them to see the actual footage caught and then they will do something about it that is what cheiftian had to do and it is a shame that the dep of agr is not able to do more than they do to stop this from going on but the pure truth is they dont do any thing much at all neither do the authorities to stop this....
So if you have the time the trail cams and patience to do it,then you can make a difference my hat of to cheiftain for his accomplishment last season.I have to work,provide,and run my root business and dont have the time time to proceed in doing this but if someone in the state of ky does have the time i could put them in the right areas to catch a few poachers and a crooked dealer......
I seem to remember reading someplace that the September 1 season start date was a compromise between some of the states and the feds. The feds wanted a September 15 date. That said, it is clear if the states do not comply with the September 1st opening date, and all of the other requirements for records etc, the feds will close the wild export from those states entirely.
Last year, my export licenses did not arrive until nearly October, this effectively takes us out of the early green market to some of the Asian countries.
The ODNR waits for people to exit the woods to return to their cars. Then they check them to see if they are carrying ginseng dug out of season. It is much easier to catch a crook returning to their car than to find them in the vast woods digging roots.
If we see a car pulled over on the side of a country road they are more than likely either broke down, fishing, hunting something, growing something, brewing something or possibly digging roots early.
I am all for the Sept 1st rule too. However it won't do a thing thou to prevent the crooks from digging early. However, it's a great rule that the good people will follow.
TN, I agree the fine should be much stiffer than it is currently.