Forestry products, including those that can be carried out, are not generally free for the taking, picking, or cutting from public land without a permit.
The illegal removal of birch poles, twigs, small logs and tubes in northern Wisconsin should be enough to remind us that, in general, if it isn’t going to be eaten, it cannot be taken from county, state, and federal lands, unless a permit can be granted.
That means seedlings, saplings, seeds, boughs, Christmas trees, firewood, and a bunch more. Some harvesting may be permitted with paperwork and permission.
Further, even those items, mushrooms, berries and nuts, while free for the taking for one’s own use, cannot be gathered and sold if the supply is greater than one’s own needs.
Some morel hunters from Illinois and Indiana most likely sell some of the mushrooms they pick, and so do a few Wisconsinites, it is presumed. Morels collected from private land – with permission – may be sold.
All those residents and nonresidents may gather and use these products, but just cannot sell them if gathered on public lands.
Private lands are entirely different. One’s own land or land where permission has been granted has no limit on whether the product is personally used or sold or traded. Just don’t trespass.
Ginseng is more complicated – check state regulations, license requirements and seasons. In general, ginseng cannot be dug on state and federal lands and no permits to do so are granted.
Enjoy gathering Wisconsin this summer, but do it legally.