Loading

67°F

67°F

72°F

69°F

72°F

69°F

68°F

71°F

72°F
NEWS STORIES

Northwoods poachers lurk in search of ginseng, big profitsSubmitted: 09/23/2013

Play Video
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.

Story By: Ben Meyer

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
 Print Story Print Story | Email Story Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS
Golden Harvest opens its doors at a new locationSubmitted: 07/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Doors officially opened for one Northwoods Grocery store.

Golden Harvest Market welcomed customers to their new location on County Road G Monday. The 17,000 square foot building has been under construction since November.

Timothy Conjurske, Golden Harvest's president, says the entire team has been working extremely hard the past few weeks.

"We've already added a few thousand items in all categories," says Conjurske. "Also, the deli is new and will be opening here in the next week or two. We're slowly working our way up to more production in that area."

+ Read More
Wisconsin man gets 9.5 years for drunk drivingSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MILWAUKEE - A Wisconsin man has been sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison for leading police on a drunken driving chase that ended in a near-fatal crash.

The Journal Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1nSZKzi ) 41-year-old Kevin Hutchins Jr. of Milwaukee reached speeds of 100 mph during a seven-mile police chase. Deputy Scott Griffin was critically injured when Hutchins' vehicle bounced off of a barricade and smashed into his squad car.

+ Read More
Volunteers start setting up Oneida County FairSubmitted: 07/28/2014

RHINELANDER - Volunteers started preparations Monday for the Oneida County Fair.

About 50 people helped set up.

A lot of work was completed ahead of schedule thanks to volunteers.

Fair leaders think most of the setup will be done Monday.

"We're hoping to be done pretty much today with the initial setup," says Fair Coordinator Nancy Gehrig. "K&M Amusement is already setting up today, which normally they aren't setting up until Tuesday. So yeah, we're ahead of the game already."

+ Read More
Wisconsin schools get money for energy efficiencySubmitted: 07/28/2014

APPLETON - More Wisconsin school districts have begun to take advantage of a change in state law allowing them to borrow money to help fund energy efficient projects.

The Appleton Post-Crescent reports (http://post.cr/1plXwIE ) 55 districts raised more than $23 million without having to ask voters to approve a referendum. The amount raised has nearly tripled since the previous year.

The two-year-old law allows schools to borrow money for energy conservation projects over multiple years in a way that diffuses costs to taxpayers.

+ Read More
Police search for hit and run driverSubmitted: 07/28/2014

MERRILL - Police need your help finding the driver of car involved in a hit and run accident over the weekend.

It happened around 3:30 in the morning on Saturday in the town of Merrill.

No one was hurt in the crash.

The victim was driving east on Hillside Drive, just west of County Rd K.

That's when a small silver car sideswiped the victim's dark blue Dodge Avenger.

+ Read More
Trial date set for former Assembly Majority LeaderSubmitted: 07/28/2014

WAUKESHA - The former majority leader of the Wisconsin Assembly will go on trial in October for sexual assault.

State Representative Bill Kramer is accused of shoving a woman into a car, groping her and making inappropriate comments.

The charges date back to a GOP event in April 2011.

During a hearing Friday, a Waukesha County Circuit Judge set a jury trial for October 28th.

+ Read More
AirVenture gets underway this week in OshkoshSubmitted: 07/28/2014

OSHKOSH - Aviation enthusiasts from as many as 70 countries will gather in Oshkosh this week for the annual Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture.

The convention draws about a half million people to the weeklong event near Wittman Regional Airport.

Thousands of planes have already landed at the airport.

On Monday, NASA representatives will talk about their plan to take people to Mars starting in 2030.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 




Click Here