View Full Version : ginseng digging

08-19-2004, 08:22 AM
When does the official ginseng season start?

08-19-2004, 08:45 AM
late august not sure on the exact day always open during squirrel season

"A wise indian once said,the more you move the less you will see,the less you move the more you will see"

" I live to hunt, but my wife says i may be hunting a place to live"

08-19-2004, 09:10 AM
Thanks. I haven't really looked for ginseng for about 15 years but would like to start again.

08-19-2004, 09:58 AM
Your legal to dig now. You can legally start digging the 15th of Aug. You can't sell dry ginseng till September 1st. Dates stay the same every year.


08-19-2004, 10:59 AM
What advice can you give on where to find ginseng? I would like to collect some berrys to try to start my own patch.

08-19-2004, 11:15 AM
Where you find Grouse you normally find seng. Cool damp areas. You might want to check northern and western Ky. It may have migrated with the grouse.[:D] What's seng bring now? Grouse is about $150.00 per pound. Of course that varies from year to year.

08-19-2004, 12:05 PM
KSP, singeng loves sandy soil, and needs full shade. Try looking around rocky hill sides. If you find one, you can usually find more, unless its been hunted hard.

Birdman, around here its between 225$ and 250$ per dry pound, but as you mentioned, its been knows to change through out the digging season.


08-19-2004, 12:29 PM
Grant Any suggestions on how high or low on the side of the hill to look? People have told me there is ginseng on a particular hill near my house but I haven't had any luck.

08-19-2004, 12:59 PM
Chances are if people told you about some being there, they got most of it.
Different people claim different things as far as what side of the hill and what not, I have found just as much on west facing hills and the rest of them.
A good indicator plant is ferns. If you find an area with several ferns, you know the soil it right for ginseng, but that doesn't always mean its there. You just have to hunt it. Nows a good time to find it because the berries will give it away alot faster than just looking for the leaves.


08-19-2004, 02:14 PM
In North Carolina, genseng season doesn't open till Sept 1. I generally dig on the north sides of the mountains. Here genseng grows in dominant yellow popular stands of timber. Always think like a bird. Anywhere birds use in these cool shaded areas there is likely to be seng. Look around grape vines, dead logs on the ground, and especially down tree laps. As far as how high to look, I've found it at elevations around 1800 feet all the way up to elevations above 4000 feet. Look hard and I hope you get your fingers dirty!!!


08-19-2004, 03:40 PM
Hornhunter,In KY it's August 15th on private land only,on Daniel Boone National Forest you can't legally dig until Sept 1st and you must have a permit from the local Forestry office,I'll get you a link later,don't have time right now,you can get info by looking under USDA- Daniel Boone National Forest though.I've found Ginseng in every county from I-75 east and several west of there in KY.Elevations as low as 500 ft to 4000 ft,The best way I've found to judge is by the other types of plant growth - Rattlesnake ferns (Ginseng pointers to some),Mayapples,Bloodroot,and usually moist woods (but not always)as I've found it on everyside of mountains and hills though it may be more predominate on a north or east facing slope.
Take only 3-prongs or bigger and leave the little stuff for another day!!!

08-19-2004, 08:18 PM
KENTUCKY 246.660 Regulations. Department to administer program for wild American ginseng.
The department shall administer a program for wild American ginseng in Kentucky which provides a framework, including a limited harvesting season, in which wild American ginseng shall be eligible for exportation in compliance with federal requirements. The department shall promulgate regulations to carry out this program and cooperate with and enter into agreements with any other agency of this state, any other state, or the federal government to carry out this program. Any regulation promulgated under this section shall be no more restrictive than minimum federal requirements.

KRS 246.660 NECESSITY, FUNCTION, AND CONFORMITY: Authorized the Department of Agriculture to adopt rules and administrative regulations relating to the administration of a program for Wild American Ginseng. This administrative regulation sets forth general provisions which apply in this chapter with regard to definitions, harvest season, and cooperative agreements.

Section 1. (1) "Ginseng Dealer" means any person engaged in the business of buying ginseng roots from ginseng collectors, ginseng cultivators, and other ginseng dealers for resale to ginseng exporters or to other ginseng dealers or any person who sells ginseng in any form in interstate commerce.
(2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture.
(3) "Department" unless otherwise specified means the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
(4) "State" means the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Section 2. Registration. (1) No person shall be a ginseng dealer without first obtaining a certificate of registration issued by the department. No registration shall be renewed until the ginseng dealer has met all requirements of recordkeeping and reporting as required by the department.
(2) Certificates of registration will be issued for a period of one (1) year, and will expire on the 30th day of April each year.
(3) Completed applications for certification of registration, issued by the department, must be returned prior to June 30th of each year.
Section 3. Recordkeeping. (1) All ginseng dealers shall keep records, on forms furnished by the department, of all purchases and sales of ginseng. These records will include month purchased, month dug, county where dug, weight of purchase, and signature and address of digger or seller. Ginseng dealers shall also keep records of purchases from other dealers. These records shall include the month each purchase from a dealer is made, the weight of purchase, and the signature and registration number of the dealer from whom the purchase is made. All purchase records shall be submitted to the department on a monthly basis. No ginseng shall be certified until the purchase records are recorded by the department. (2) Retention. All persons required to maintain records under this section shall retain the records for a period of three (3) years.
(3) Availability. Records required under this section shall be made available to the department upon request.

Section 4. Annual Report. All ginseng dealers will file an annual report with the department by April 30th. The annual report shall include the listing of each purchase and sale of ginseng made by the dealer since July 1 the previous year.

Section 5. All ginseng dealers will file a report with the department at least every calendar-year quarter if the dealer has any commerce in ginseng originating from any state other than Kentucky. The report must be sent within fifteen (15) days of the end of any calendar-year quarter and shall list each purchase and sale of out-of-state ginseng made by the dealer during that quarter.

<font color="red"><b>Section 6. Harvest Season. Beginning September 1, 1988 and each year thereafter, wild ginseng will only be dug between August 15th and December 1st of each year. Any seeds adhering to a plant taken during the season shall be planted within fifty (50) feet of the location of the plant with no tool used other than the finger. </b></font id="red">
Section 7. All sales of ginseng by dealers shall be certified for sale during the ginseng selling season beginning September 1st of each year and extending until March 31st of the following year.

Section 8. All ginseng unsold by March 31st of the year after harvest must be weighed by the department and the dealer given a weight receipt. Any future export certification of this stock will only be issued against the weight receipt.

Section 9. (1) All ginseng dealers holding a certificate of registration hereunder must obtain a certificate of legal taking issued by the department after inspection by an official of the department identifying the origin, year of taking, and weight of any shipment of ginseng to a destination outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The certificate shall also state whether the ginseng is Wild American Ginseng or whether the ginseng has been cultivated or propagated by a grower. Such certification shall be issued to the dealer on triplicate forms issued by the department. A copy of such certification must be enclosed with the shipment subject of the certification. A copy of such certificate shall be retained for a minimum of three (3) years by the licensed ginseng dealer and a copy of the certificate shall be retained by the certifying agent of the department and submitted in accordance with internal procedures of the department. (2) At the time of issuance of the certificate, the department official shall receive from the ginseng dealer copies of all purchase records covering the amount of ginseng certified. Records of ginseng purchased from other dealers shall be recorded with the department prior to a certificate being issued.

Section 10. No ginseng dug outside the borders of Kentucky which is uncertified in its state of origin shall be allowed to enter Kentucky.

Section 11. (1) Any ginseng which is obtained in contravention of laws for the protection of the species or in violation of any other law shall not be purchased, sold, shipped, or transported within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (2) The Kentucky Department of Agriculture may enforce the provisions of Section 11 of this administrative regulation herein as provided in KRS 260.030. (9 Ky.R. 292; Am. 572; 917; eff. 1-6-83; 13 Ky.R. 1713; 14 Ky.R. 431; eff. 8-5-87; 18 Ky.R. 743; 1840; eff. 11-26-91.)

Lots of rules to follow.Its also a felony to dig where you don't have permission

08-19-2004, 09:33 PM
just remember if you dig the ones with berries to put the berries in the ground

08-19-2004, 09:50 PM
You got it raktrakr, thats our next crop years down the line. Can,t dig anything under a 3 prong, really everything else is two small anyway. I,ve dug sang from 8 years old to well i feel 2 days older than dirt. Oldlady says i look it to. Enjoy your time a diging now i think not to far off they will try to stop it in ky. I hope my grandson can grow up diging but it looks bleak right now.

08-20-2004, 11:49 AM
I've always wanted to hunt ginseng but I have no idea what it looks like. I've got access to about 900 acres in eastern Ky that I could hunt the stuff on but I am clueless as to its makeup. CAn someone please post a picture of the stuff. Thanks.

08-20-2004, 12:16 PM
I'm like you antlersnspurs, I'm interested in digging it also but have never been taught how. Seems like people are pretty protective of there seng and aren't interested in taking you out and showing you theirs.

08-20-2004, 02:45 PM
Anytime you guys want to go I'd be more than happy to teach you the "sport" of Seng-Huntin'.Just PM me and we'll set it up.Here is a link for you to look at Ginseng and any other plant you want =

08-22-2004, 02:35 PM
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by ksp965</i>
<br />What advice can you give on where to find ginseng? I would like to collect some berrys to try to start my own patch.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
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ksp965,here's a link that might interest you,I had one for places to buy berries in KY at,but lost it along the line =

OOPS,here it is =http://www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/ho/ho73/ho73.htm

08-22-2004, 04:07 PM
ksp965, you can buy berries from the classifieds from the back pages of fur fish and game magazine

08-23-2004, 05:26 AM
Sounds Like KY has the same guidelines as NC on Ferderal Lands. Kyfanatic, have you had much luck finding seng around walnut trees? I know you are familar with seng woods by the type of indicators species of forest plants (I look for the same ones) I have a good friend that says he finds alot of seng where he's at under walnut trees. We don't have many walnuts in the woods here mainly just along the field edges. just curious.

08-23-2004, 02:57 PM
I've found it under walnuts before even though some plants won't grow under a walnut tree. I've only found ginseng under a hemlock twice,and a cedar once,never under a pine.Oak-Beech-Maple woods seem to be the best.

08-23-2004, 06:44 PM
I like all this seng talk. Anytime someone want,s ta go a digging give me a hollar. There are so many place,s it grow,s in this area. The best i,ve found last year were just under the edge,s of old strip benche,s. Man that hunting is not for the faint of heart. In some place,s ya have to crawl to get through. That can be hairy to say the least. But ya have to go place,s no sane person would go to get the really big stuff. Snake boot,s or chap,s are real handy but i hunted it for year,s in tennis shoes. Not any more when ya come on a 46 inch timber boss. That changed my habit,s real fast. I welcome other,s to learn it and look for it. Once that seng bug bite,s ya but. If your only out for the money your missing the best part of the hunt. The extra dough is just a plus to do something not all but a few learn to appreciate for what it is. There,s nothing else like it.

08-23-2004, 09:12 PM
I'd love to learn about it whenever someone would like to take me. I'll even buy lunch.

08-24-2004, 04:20 AM
Now what kinda deal is that. Lunch is apack of nabs and a hot pop.[:D] Out in the rough stuff this time of year carry extra water and go lite on the eating. I drink a pop then two small bottles of water before hitting the mnt. It pays to do this for me anyway. The weight of a extra canteen goes quick around mid day when it heats up. Have extra thing of bug stuff atleast 29% deet. Thoes little suckers will make a pin cousion outa ya.[:)] Sportsman 29 from wallyworld works purdy good for me. If your in the eastern ky area hollar if possable we will hit the mnt. some where. There is a lot of seng being dug but mostly by older, did i say that, people.[:D] Like me that have been doing it all my life. [8D]

08-24-2004, 05:18 AM
Thats very odd kyfanatic, in NC anytime I go through a big popular cove I always look around the hemlock trees and generally its a given that they will be a bunch or two there. Thats generally where the birds roost and I always find a bunch there. We don't have any well very few cdedars here but I figured that would be a good place to look. I guess it grows a liitle different in place to place. The guy who told me he found it under walnut trees lives about three counties away from me. I knew alot of plants wouldn't grow under walnut trees but I didn't know if he was just going on or if seng was more tolerant to the toxcity of walnut roots. If it wasn't so far away, I'd get up with you just to see how it grows in a different environment

08-24-2004, 11:20 AM
Hornhunter,if you ever want to make the trip,you are always welcome,I'll get you into some of that Elk country here where you'll at least get a look at em'.I live in what they call the outer bluegrass area of KY now,there is not nearly as much seng here as in the Eastern mountains of KY due to more farming,especially cattle with access to the woodlots,still find some around though.I tend to do most of my seng Huntin' in the mountains though.
There may be more ginseng under Hemlocks than I give credit,but I do better in other type places.It's just usually to dry underneath most evergreens.I love to hunt,but I really love to Ginseng hunt.
My wife says if it was up to me I'd stay out in the mountains for weeks at a time.lol
Anyhow offer still stands to (Buckdroppings) or anybody else that wants to learn how to Ginseng hunt for a trip.Just PM me
Glenn P.

08-24-2004, 03:39 PM
I appreciate the offer!! Like I said it would be a long drive but I'll give it some thought. I'd really like to scratching out a big four prong and get rattled by the big bugle of an elk.

08-25-2004, 09:23 AM
When will ginseng start turning yellow? Just wondering how long a person have a chance to find some.

08-25-2004, 02:56 PM
Depends on the weather mostly,I've found it turning yellow in late August before,and also found it green through late September.You can usually find those red berries easy even if the plant is wilted.

08-25-2004, 07:14 PM
Found about 100 plants today, but only 25 or so big enough to dig. Some still had green berries, kind of late I thought. I used to dig a pound or so a year to pay for hunting stuff, haven't dug much in the last 4 or 5 yrs.

08-25-2004, 09:16 PM
where do you guys sell this stuff?

08-25-2004, 09:25 PM

Where are you located? I know of a buyer in Casey Co., Christian Co, and Union Co.

08-26-2004, 01:13 PM
What does ginseng bring per pound (dry) in Kentucky?

I realize it varies from year to year just on average.

08-26-2004, 01:23 PM
My dad has been a licensed dealer since I was knee high to a grasshopper, hes located in Caldwell County.

Right now, depending on the size and quality, 225 to 250$. And if its not 5 years or older, he can't even buy it, so don't even mess with digging the small stuff.


08-27-2004, 03:27 PM
Tops are 5$ a dry pound. If you would like any more info, feel free to pm me or reply here.