We have that problem here in WV. Whitetails are doing more damage than overdigging. They eat the younger seng tops before they have a chance to establish a root. I'm not sure the effects of them eating the tops year after year.
I have similar problems. MY 1st patch is eaten agressively by the whitetails. So, I hunt them agressivly during the season. Puts meat in the freezer, and cuts down on the deer damage... however hunting them is not the complete answer.
Iput up a trail camera there and got pictures of a dozen different deer a distinct times all thru out the day and night. without a doubt, deer love 'sang!
I heard -and I havn't tried this yet- that if you put 1 by chicken wire down to the entrances to your patches, like 6 foot wide and long at the entrance, that the deer will not step on it; and won't go into your patch. I am going to put this down this fall.
The big thing about that is that there needs to be a clear entrance/exit to the patch. If you have open woods, that might be hard.
After I get this down this month, I'll give a report on how effective it is. Well, as time goes on... My patches are somewhat more bordered than a patch in the open woods, I'm hopeing that it will be a very effective controll there.
the plants become stunted the roots become soft and some rot and die the worst part they eat the top before it can seed
I have never seen Ginseng roots become soft, rot and die from Deer eating the tops but I am not saying that it can't happen. I lived in the Northern Mountains of West Virginia for 10 years (1984-1994) where the Deer populations were at one time 20x the Deer populations are here now in East Tennessee and never saw this happen. I would suspect something else going on besides Deer eating the tops (probably a fungi or other)!
If there is not a problem with alerting others to the Ginseng and getting the Deer out of the area is not a problem, then I would recommend the following. Take a long piece of string, tie an aluminum (foil) Pie Plate to each end, then tie the string to a limb or tack it to a tree, so that the two pie plates are hanging together (next to each other) and will bang and flash in the wind. Make up a bunch of these, hang them about every 50 yards around a Ginseng plot and this should keep Deer, Turkey, Bear and a lot other critters out of this area. You could also try Whitjr's suggestion about laying down some Chicken coup wire around the plots to keep the Deer out!
The way my wife keeps deer out of our garden is she makes all the garage sales she can. She buys every bottle of stinking Avon perfume she can get her hands on, usually for a quarter or fifty cents a bottle. She hangs plastic grocery bags from tree limbs all around the garden, 4 or 5, and puts a big rag in each one, Yep, she dumps a whole bottle of that stinking mess on each rag. The plastic bag keeps the rain and dew from washing it away and during the day the sun heats it up making it stink more. Our garden smells like a cathouse on Sat. night but guess what, she got rid of the deer and the deer won't come near it now. She refreshes the bags with just a little every couple of weeks. I am so glad to find out that stinking mess is good for something.