The general age range to start honey hunting is around 10-12 years of age. The rainy season is from the 15th of June to the end of September. Within this time frame the main honey hunting season is is from March to June, however there can also be a second honey collection season during the month of November if the rainy season was strong. Typically a honey hunting group size ranges between 5-10 individuals, but can be made up of more people, and include both men and women. For the most part there is a job distribution between males and females. Both will go together in the forest to search for hives. Once honeycombs are found, the men do most of tree climbing and bringing down the hives, while the women on the ground squeeze the hives to collect the honey. Sometimes the women will also climb trees and bring honeycomb down, yet this is mostly with smaller trees.
There are a variety of tools for honey collection, some made directly from the forest while other materials are brought from the village. The ladder to clamber up the honeycomb laden trees are made from climbers (also known as creepers). A stabbing stick (meant to jab at the hive and make fall from the branch the honey section or whole hive itself) is also made from the forest and certain kinds of green leaves are gathered to be burned and used for smoke. The honey hunters will bring their vessels, typically plastic, from the village to collect honey in. When honey hunting, they typically do the collection process at night because during the day the honeybees are more active and could notice the humans more easily and attack. In addition, smoke is not good to use during the day. Thus, at night, the honey hunters are more safely hidden and can use smoke.
While honey collection occurs mostly in the evening, the preparation all takes place in the morning. A single tree can have as much as 50-60 hives on its branches, making it a process that takes several hours for several days. At night, the honeybees will typically have flown off to a water source and that is when the honey hunting process begins. Tree climbing for the honey hives requires using an axe to make notches in the tree or having support from the a long bamboo leaning parallel to the tree. The bundle of leaves collected will be burned and then used to directly set hives aflame. This practice has ultimately hurt the honeybee population, yet efforts such as from Gram Swaraj are working to teach honey hunters not to burn hives but use smoke only. Typically the whole comb will be harvested.
The Khadia People, most notorious for honey hunting in Orissa, will also collect honey from Rock Cliffs. Given this task is more challenging and risky, they will drink a local liquor as a way to reduce fear before going for a honey hunt. The Khadia term these cliffs as Bhandar, which means Store House. The honey gathered from these cliffs belongs to Apis dorsata, which is a species of honeybee known for being aggressive in temperament. Hence, why this species is referred to as Baghua, which is a term for tiger-like in Oriya. Wild climbers such as from Siali are used to make a ladder for rock climbing and water is sprinkled on the climber to make it flexible and strong. A honey hunter will climb down after the sun has set, while someone else above will lower down the burning leaf bundle towards the hive. The entire honey comb will be removed from the cliff and taken back to the village. When going for honey collection, the groups will bring all necessary supplies, even utensils for cooking, and return to the village 4-5 days. Once home, the honey section will be removed, filtered, and then sold to outside locals.