CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia’s ginseng harvest season has kicked off, allowing hunters to once again harvest Appalachia’s endangered wild ginseng. Until Nov. 30, hunters will be able to harvest any ginseng they come across, so long as they comply with regulations.

Ginseng must be at least five years old and its berries bright red before they can legally be harvested. A five year old plant will have at least four scars at the base of the stem. This is done to allow the plant time to replace itself with new generations. The berries must also be planted at the site where the harvested ginseng was taken.

As for where one is allowed to hunt, written permission is required to dig on private property while a current forest service permit is required to dig at designated national forest lands. Ginseng in West Virginia state forests, state parks or other state-owned land are off-limits. To learn more about the ginseng permits and regulations in their area, hunters are encouraged contact their local national forest office.

Diggers must sell their ginseng to a registered West Virginia ginseng dealer or have their collected roots weight-receipted at one of the West Virginia Division of Forestry weigh stations by March 31, 2023. A weight receipt is a record of the ginseng that was dug and records who wants to hold it over to the next digging/buying season. Possession of ginseng roots is prohibited from April 1 through Aug. 31 without a weight-receipt from the Division of Forestry.

Diggers must provide a government-issued photo ID to sell ginseng to a registered dealer. Failure to comply with rules and regulations can result in fines ranging from $500 up to $1,000 for a first offense, and $1,000 up to $2,000 for multiple offenses.

For more on ginseng and ginseng hunting, check out the Division of Forestry website at https://wvforestry.com/ginseng-program/