There's a different type of season in Indiana that began Sept. 1 and runs through the end of the year. Participants don't have to carry a firearm, muzzleloader or bow and arrow; instead, all that's required is keen eyesight and lots of walking through the woods with a trowel or knife for digging that's required.

The "prey" is a woodland plant that takes years to mature. The bright red berries nestled between clustered leaves can be difficult to spot but the reward is an often-person-shaped root that's in high demand and expensive.

The plant, ginseng, grows in the shaded forest floors in the eastern portion of North America, where people have harvested it for generations. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Treaty regulates the harvesting, sale and distribution of ginseng. 

Wild ginseng in Indiana is considered a vulnerable species by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which limits the export of wild ginseng to roots that are at least four years old.

The regulations, and the rewards

Laura Minzes is the state's ginseng coordinator with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' nature preserves division. She's in charge of keeping track of how much ginseng, both wild and cultivated, is harvested each year. Besides ensuring the roots harvested are the correct age, she's also looking out for the survival of the species.

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