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TOPIC: How do we stop illegal digging out of season?

Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33757

Catching and stopping poachers on your own property is possible. Especially if you're willing to pay a little to protect your investments. I'm thinking the big issue everyone is discussing here is catching people who dig plants that are too small, dig out of season or on public land where digging is prohibited. Policing millions of acres of open forest is a ridicules task. So no law is going to stop illegal diggers since enforcing the law is near impossible.

I know the fear here is that there won't be any wild ginseng left to dig in a few decades time. Personally I'm not particularly worried about this even without any regulation on digging. The demand for ginseng is high and there are already large companies making sure there will be plenty of ginseng to meet this demand for decade to come. Of course I'm referring to cultivated ginseng. At the moment there isn't enough money in wild ginseng for someone with deep pockets to step in. However as the wild ginseng population dwindles the incentive will grow. Eventually it will become worth it for a company to buy forest and make wild-sim \"farms\" that they would be extremely good at policing and protecting. This is obviously bad for everyone except a very few people. The wild ginseng trade as we know it would be dead, but ginseng would still go on. This is where I think things are headed, you can speed it up or slow it down, but stopping it is impossible using the current methods.

I think what it boils down to is the average Joe-schmo illegal digger doesn't think the plants he/she took illegally will have that big of an impact. That's what needs to be fixed! I think the only way to stop it would be better education on a mouth to mouth basis. Maybe they can teach about it in the public schools in the region, so as the kids grow up they're already familiar with the sustainable growth practices and what are the repercussions of not following them.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33758

Sorry guys, I didn't mean to open up a pandora's box.

We just need to figure out a way to make sure seng is dug in the legal season.

If a person doesn't want to sell green, I think someone mentioned a green weight receipt then holding it for awhile and drying it for the better price. Of course if you dig every day you would need to store your green seng in a container in the fridg. until you had enough to make it worth while on a weight receipt.
Any person that has a lot of seng or digs a lot would be better off to be a licensed dealer then they could certify their own seng. Just another thought.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33760

Ahhh come on rootman no need to apologize you know this topic needs discussed and for one am GLAD YOU DID BRING IT UP!!!
If we the diggers and dealers don't suggest and come up with good recommendations then the Fed's & states will toss out regulations & laws that will be cause even worse problems. Per previous coments if moneys involved their will always be someone willing to break the law and no amount of laws will ever change that. If you don't allow any wild harvesting and it will go the route of drugs, the root will still be dug then smuggled out of country or exported with legal cultivated or ????? Moneys involved so someone will figure a way around it to get that money. Look at Ivory, rhino horns, bear bladders, etc.....
STIFF PENALTIES and then only the hard nosed law breakers will be involved as the average family man looking to supplement income by illegal digging will not want to involved after the 1st bust involving them or friends. That's where a large portion of illegal root comes from in my opinion, then once those folks are done digging illegally that'll only leave the druggies & hard core criminals involved in it which no amount of laws or penalties has been shown to dissuade that class of folks.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33761

Personally, I feel that if ginseng value keeps rising up into the $1500 - $2000 dollar range for dried root, you're going to hear more stories that sound like they are about hardcore drug busts. There will be people getting held up at gunpoint in the woods to steal their ginseng, there will be break-in's and theft of roots that someone is drying in their home, etc.

I heard a story about a guy in my state that has over 20 acres planted on his personal property in the mountains, and all are completely fenced in with 8 foot fence, and are patrolled day and night by armed hired workers. 2 years ago, a poacher was caught jumping the fence and got a leg full of birdshot, then the police came and hauled him to jail.

I also heard a story about a guy who got caught by a landowner digging seng without permission and had to serve 60-90 days plus pay a fine. While he was in jail, his buddies went in the dark back to the property owner's woods and sprayed all his patches of seng with round-up. They were dumb enough to brag about it later on and got caught, but the damage was done. Outlaw justice is hard to combat with laws, rules and regulations.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33762

That's where the property owner should have received punitive damages 10 times the ginsengs value dug by the trespasser and then when his friends that were stupid enough to go and spray roundup on his ginseng should have EACH been required to pay a minimum of 10 times the estimated value also and if possible a multiple of 10 instead as it was retaliatory and intentional destruction that's not easily and readily rectified.
HARSH PENALTIES.
If they had faced those kinds of penalties do you think after the 1st offence they'd do it again?? If so they are rather brain dead outlaws in my opinion.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33766

Some states have laws like that. My state has such laws for illegal logging. Something like 3 to 10 times the value of the damage to the property. It's actually pretty effective. I actually caught someone illegally logging my land. He didn't just go over the line a little or some such thing like that, he cut a swath like 400 feet long. Just talking about the worth of the trees he took (not even the trees and other plants he damaged) he would have owed me anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 dollars. If you included damage it would have been much higher. That was the first time (and hopefully the last, lol) in my life I've seen a grown man grovel on his knees in horror of what might happen to him. Lucky for him after looking at all the evidence I realized he was just extremely bad at surveying. So instead of having him dragged off to jail he was my \"b*tch\" for awhile. I had him do all the crap jobs I couldn't or didn't want to do.

The worst part for me is that I had intended to plant ginseng in that area, and now I probably won't be able to. By the time it's grown in I'll be too old. So the lasting damage to me financially is probably 6 figures, but nothing I could have ever proven in court.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33769

I can't imagine someone stealing my ginseng and then retaliating after being caught by killing all I had. All sense and reasoning would probably go out the window and I would end up with a defense lawyer I'm sure.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33786

From skimming this thread I see that this is a good conversation to have. I didn't get into the thread earlier because in addition to being really busy, I wanted to think about the initial question some. Now, I'll just have to wait until I can read the posts well to respond.

Certainly what we see is that this is not an easy solution and it will be almost impossible to make everyone happy with any action moving in the direction of a solution.

Again, only skimming through I am seeing the need for everyone to recognize that we are all on the same side ultimately. We may have different areas of interest or involvement (dealer vs digger vs grower for instance) but we all want to see a robust population of ginseng for future generations with a sustainable harvest with reasonable market prices. I think it is important to understand that whenever we come together like this to keep this important fact in mind.


As to my initial thoughts, I don't think there is anyway possible to prevent illegal activity in any area of society. If so, there would be no heroin, no assault, or no theft. This suggests to me that governmental dictation is not the complete answer. However, I think it is indeed part of the answer as intelligent regulation can encourage situations which naturally depress bad behavior over time.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33791

rootman wrote:


If a person doesn't want to sell green, I think someone mentioned a green weight receipt then holding it for awhile and drying it for the better price. Of course if you dig every day you would need to store your green seng in a container in the fridg. until you had enough to make it worth while on a weight receipt.

I had actually had thought about something similar. Having the deer check in stations prevalent throughout all of Indiana be used to check in the green ginseng at a minimum time frame of weekly when dug. Then I got to thinking about how Easily it could be abused. The guying digging out of season would continue to dry their early ginseng so that it doesn't go bad, then when harvest season opens on day 1 they take there green ginseng in and get it weighed, then the next day he takes that days haul in and a portion of the previous days haul in and gets it weighed, and continues to do so until his green weight receipts match his dried weight. Then I thought well limit it to a maximum of 2-3 checking in green and I thought how would the illegal digger get around that. They dig and get their green weight checked, then they hand it to a wife, girl friend, etc... and they get the weight certificate for the same root.

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Re:How do we stop illegal digging out of season? 2 years 10 months ago #33792

GMCPaul,

Of course there are going to be ways to beat any system but that would be a start and maybe make it enough trouble that they would stop or really slow down on their illegal endeavors.

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