CRAWFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Wreath season is in full swing, drawing tippers out to the woods to collect evergreen boughs used for making christmas wreaths. Legally, tippers need a permit and lawn owner permission to collect their wreath essentials but not everyone is following the rules.
"We deal with hundreds of complaints every season," said Forest Ranger Ryan Maker.
Over the weekend, rangers confiscated 1500 pounds of evergreen boughs from individuals who were tipping on land they didn't have permission from.
"We sell that brush, get a receipt for it and if they're proven guilty at the arraignment of their trial then that money will go back to the land owner and they will be able to receive the money for the brush that was tipped," said Maker.
Forest Ranger Ryan Maker knows exactly what to look for when searching for tippers. From sticks, to muddy puddles, evergreen branches...he says it's all evidence and helps to stop the illegal act.
"It irritates me. If I have to buy a permit why shouldn't they? But there are people that do it illegally," said Patricia Mullen, a permitted tipper.
Patricia Mullen and her husband Jim were tipping in an area that had already been tipped ahead of them...
"If the guy came in here and he's getting brush that we looked for if he didn't have a permit I'd be pretty upset," said Mullen.
Patricia and Jim say that on an average day, they can tip a combined 300-400 pounds and at $.35 to $.40 a pound, that's a pretty good haul she says.
"There's good money in it and a lot of people that's how they pay for their christmas, their taxes or heating oil or anyway to get by," said Maker.
"That's the way it is in Washington County because the people around here it's kind of a poor county. People need the money," said Mullen.
And they deserve it, working long hours in cold conditions to have a happy holiday season.