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Ginseng’s growth draws poachers, brings arrests

Indiana’s damp, cool summer was the ideal growing climate for ginseng and Indiana’s conservation officers already have made numerous arrests for poaching it.

Indiana conservation officers recently arrested two Connersville brothers who are accused of hunting and digging ginseng on private land and also on Brookville Lake property, conservation officer Corey Norrad said.

The men each face a charge of theft on state property, a Class A misdemeanor, and harvesting without permission, a Class C misdemeanor. The Palladium-Item does not typically name individuals charged solely with misdemeanors.

“This year we’re getting quite a few calls and complaints about ginseng poachers,” Norrad said. “If they’d ask, most people would say ‘OK.’ Ginseng is selling for $900 a pound now, and they can go in and quickly get a lot of money.”

Wild ginseng is sought for its root, which diggers sell to licensed dealers. The root is often exported to other countries. Ginseng harvest season in Indiana opened Sept. 1 and continues until Dec. 31.

Twenty-five southern Indiana residents were charged in September with ginseng theft after multiple investigations by conservation officers. Several illegal drugs were seized and a stolen handgun recovered as a result of the investigation, officers said.

Those arrests were due to “Operational District Eight,” a ginseng enforcement effort that resulted in ginseng arrests in Clark, Harrison, Martin, Orange, Scott and Washington counties.

Indiana citizens can help end poaching by partnering with the state’s Turn in a Poacher program, Conservation Officer spokesman Jim Schreck said in a statement. T.I.P. is a non-profit organization that began in 1983 for the purpose of paying rewards to promote public involvement and assistance to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ law enforcement efforts.

Residents may report natural resource violations by calling Indiana Conservation Officers’ central dispatch at (812)837-9536 or the anonymous tip line at (800) TIP-IDNR.

Interested citizens may join TIP by visiting www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/2745.htm.

via Ginseng’s growth draws poachers, brings arrests.