NORTHWOODS - Not too many things sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, unless we're talking gold or silver.
But northern Wisconsin forests produce something that's worth about just as much as something you'd find in a jewelry store.
And in many cases, taking it is highly illegal.
Poachers lurk in the forests of northern Wisconsin.
But they're not on the hunt for rare animals.
They're looking for rare plants - and big profits.
"There's decent money involved in ginseng root," says DNR Warder Supervisor David Walz.
Illegal harvest of ginseng root is a growing problem in Wisconsin.
It's shouldn't be much of a surprise, with how much wild ginseng can sell for.
For example, last year, "it was around $700, $750 per pound," Walz says.
I'm out in the woods looking for ginseng with Ryan Magana.
He's not actually a poacher - he's an ecologist with the DNR.
"This plant has cultural value in East Asia, among other places, with East Asia being prominent," Magana says. "They're willing to pay a lot of money for this plant. It's important to them culturally and economically. They're willing to pay a lot."
That's true, in part, because wild ginseng can be really hard to find.
"It's going to be subject to herbivory by deer, poaching by humans, and it has to be in the right habitat," says Magana.
A lot of the mesic soil and forest in Wisconsin - that is, not too wet or dry - is good habitat for ginseng growth.
In fact, 95% of the country's wild ginseng is taken from Wisconsin.
Ginseng harvest season started three weeks ago and runs through November 1.
The DNR regulates it heavily because it's so rare.
No harvest is allowed on federal or state lands, and harvest on private land requires a permit, property-owner permission, and taking only mature plants.
But with the prices ginseng can go for, poachers often throw those rules out the window.
"That's an issue that we often times see, with the money involved in ginseng root, we get some trespass issues," Walz says.
I'm not even allowed to say you exactly where Magana and I were in the forest, for fear that the place where we're looking to identify ginseng would be pounced upon by poachers.
We spent an hour searching and found nothing.
If poachers had found some, gotten caught, and been convicted, they'd be on the hook for hundreds of dollars in fines.
But with how much wild ginseng can go for, it's no wonder they take the risk - even if our search turned up nothing.
LANGLADE COUNTY - A dead crow found in Langlade County last week tested positive for West Nile virus. It's the first crow to test positive in Langlade County since surveillance started for the virus on May 1.
The Langlade County Health Department wants people to be more careful when trying to prevent mosquito bites. The virus is spread to humans through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes get the virus from infected birds.
MADISON - State attorneys have asked a federal judge to stay a ruling allowing people to vote without photo identification pending an appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction this week allowing people who haven't been able to obtain IDs to vote in the Nov. 8 election if they sign an affidavit explain why they couldn't get the identification.
RHINELADER - During the summer months, camps look forward to welcoming campers and counselors.
They certainly don't look forward to those hot and humid days that make it hard to enjoy being outdoors.
This week, Rhinelander's Camp Birchrock has focused on keeping their campers cool all day long.
"We've been getting in the water, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing. Doing a lot of fun things to keep us cool," said 11-year-old Genevion Boid.
This is his first year as a camper at Birchrock.
Camp Director Johanna Sommers says the heat hasn't stopped them from doing any activities, but they do remain mindful of the sun.
"We make sure that they're drinking water all day," Sommers said. "Water bottles are a must and sunscreen, especially. We put it on every hour at least."
Luckily at the camp there's a lot of shade created by trees, giving the campers and counselors some relief from all of that heat. In a lot of areas around the camp, they also have water fountains.
In addition to keeping the campers hydrated, counselors also make sure to limit time in the sun.
"We do a little bit less of hiking and sports field activities, because the sports field is kind of open to the sun," Sommers said. "We try not to do too much out there just so they don't get overheated and over exhausted."
12-year-old Eleanor Domnick says she doesn't mind the heat. It gives her a chance to enjoy the outdoors.
"It's really fun to go swimming and just go in the play field and hang out with your friends," Domnick said.
The campers at Camp Birchrock are sure enjoying staying cool, while also having some fun.
The camp offers overnight sessions and regular day camp programs every summer.
RHINELANDER - Emergency first responders save lives and build trust in the community.
And now the Rhinelander Police Department has a new member to do that.
They swore in the new officer Friday morning.
Mark Raddatz and his family gathered at the Rhinelander City Hall for the ceremony.
Raddatz is excited to be in Rhinelander and to make a positive impact in the community.
"I think it's very important for people to know what we do and how involved we are with the community and how much good we do. A lot of times people don't see us doing all the behind the scenes things and good acts," said Raddatz.
Raddatz is the 17th member on the police force, making the department full again. That addition will help with involvement around town as well.
"We have the ability to do extra programming out in the community. Our officers have more time to spend building more positive relationships within the community, instead of just reacting to calls," said Police Chief Michael Steffes.
Raddatz has worked in other departments across Wisconsin and he's looking forward to being in Rhinelander.
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