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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first and only time to do this so I want to know what questions I need to have answered before I start. One of my main concerns if that I am not left with a disaster area. My first call was to a consulting forester. Is that the best route or should I have multiple bids from loggers.
 

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forester . worth every penny. he'll keep the loggers in line.
 

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A forester is the way to go. He will go get bids for you...at least thats what the one did for my brother. A outfit went in prior to the forester and low balled the heck out of him so he got the forester and he got him a lot more money. I dont know how old you are or how big your property is but if done right in several years you will be able to do this again
 

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I agree with cooncrazy and 171farm get a forester in your area ,we did some logging several years ago . we tried it on our own and found some that tried to rip us off ,went with a local forester and he did well by us . he'll do all the leg work and give you the best deal available
 

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also he will keep an eye on the loggers ,he doesn't want a bad name or reputation from bad loggers .not saying all loggers are bad but he'll know the best ones to deal with. also there will be a percentage based fee on his services
 

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I would use a forester but make sure he knows what you want.Decide on a size 4 foot off the ground to be marked for cutting.Go with him on the first day of marking and make sure your getting what you want.Foresters get paid on a percentage so the more he marks the more he makes.If you have some really big timber you will lose a few trees that are not marked because of the bigger trees taking other trees down with them so get your forester to show you places that will likely happen.These areas can look like a clear cut when done.If your wanting better deer hunting have them leave the tops.It may not look as nice but deer love laying in and around tops.You can have your forester explain how much you will make off the tops and you will be surprised all the more it will be unless your cutting a lot of timber.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone, since this is all new to me I want to do it the right way. I have a service forester that will walk the property with me from the PA Department of Conservation and natural recourses and hopefully tell me some options as well as what steps to take.
 

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I always shudder when I hear select cut. To me it means high grading, removing the trees that have some value today but would have more value in the future while leaving all the trees that will never have value. All you have left is junk.
 

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If you're doing this for habitat improvement, cut it heavy. A gentle select cut won't help for long, i do alot of those and within 5 years you're back where you started.
 

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I always shudder when I hear select cut. To me it means high grading, removing the trees that have some value today but would have more value in the future while leaving all the trees that will never have value. All you have left is junk.
Select cutting is the best way to harvest timber and make good habitat.If you decide to cut trees that are say 2o inches across at 4 feet off the ground you will be leaving plenty of trees that can be cut again in 15 to 20 years plus be leaving trees that will produce acorns.
 

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If you're doing this for habitat improvement, cut it heavy. A gentle select cut won't help for long, i do alot of those and within 5 years you're back where you started.
Cutting to heavy can make a great bedding area but not the best hunting area IMO.How big is the track your wanting to thin?Cutting to heavy can make you have just junk come back also,such as striped maple,birch and so on.
 

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chickenlittle , I respectfully disagree with you, if you have a good forester he will guide you in the right direction that you have future good cuttings and not a bunch of junk, that way you can get money in the future cuttjngs
 

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Dennis, you can disagree but high grading happens all the time. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference whether you have it high graded all at once or over a couple decades. Once the good timber is gone, all you have left is firewood and no timber regeneration. True, the firewood quality oaks will still produce acorns but the maples and other stuff won't. You'd be better off both for deer hunting and future timber value to clearcut in blocks and start over.

I will agree that getting a forester would help (preferably a good forester) and definitely a forester that works for you and not a logger or mill.
 

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Select cutting is the best way to harvest timber and make good habitat.If you decide to cut trees that are say 2o inches across at 4 feet off the ground you will be leaving plenty of trees that can be cut again in 15 to 20 years plus be leaving trees that will produce acorns.
Forestman3, you are wrong. What you suggest is called high grading or diameter limit cutting. It is a bad practice that is criticized by reputable foresters, forestry researchers and forestry industry associations. Despite that, there are plenty of people like you who think it is a good practice. I can explain why high grading is wrong and I'll use my property as an example. There are plenty of resources on the web about it and even youtube videos that can explain it.

The woods on my family farm, like most PA woods that have not been touched in our lifetimes, are even aged oak. It was clearcut in the 1930s. All the oaks are the same age whether they are over 20" DBH or below. The oaks that are above 20"DBH are the best trees. They grew fastest over the last 80 years. They will continue to grow fastest until we remove them. All the oaks smaller than 20" were slower growing over the last 80 years. They will continue to be slower growing and less productive. If we high graded our property like you suggest, we'd have these slower growing, inferior oaks left behind to to compete will all the maple and black gum. Yes, in 10 years, some of those slower growing oaks will be large enough that our property could be high graded again and maybe a 3rd time after that. At that point, we'd just have the most inferior, slowest growing oaks left. There would be no young oaks to replace them but plenty of maple and black gum. I don't think that is deer paradise and not a recipe future timber harvests either.

So you are correct that I could take money out of my woods today and a couple more times over 20 years but there'd be no more after that. The income I'd get would be less than what I'll get by managing it properly. Rather than high grade, the I'd like to thin out the junk now so my best oaks can grow faster. Cut out the maple, black gum, and non-timber oaks that are competing with my best oaks. Thin it to get light on the ground and it will thicken up for deer cover and maybe get a little oak regeneration. When I am ready to cut, I'd arrange it into blocks that can be clear cut. Full light on the ground helps oak regeneration and provides great habitat for deer management. And there will be nice timber there again in 100 years.

Pennsylvania Woodland Owners Associations ? Center for Private Forests ? Penn State University
high grading ? The EcoForester
PA Forestry Association - Dedicated to sustaining the forests of Pennsylvania.
https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1848.pdf " Sustainable Forestry versus Diameter Limit Cutting PB 1848"
www.crawfordconservation.com/assets/pdf/DiameterLimitCutting.pdf "Diameter Limit Cutting --- Destroying Your Forest"
https://www.fs.fed.us/ne/newtown_square/publications/technical_reports/pdfs/2006/ne_gtr342.pdf "Proceedings of the Conference on Diameter-Limit Cutting in Northeastern Forests"
 

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He never said how big his track of timber was that I saw.If it`s less than 100 acres and he clear cuts it all he has is a big bedding area with no trees to get into to hunt it.I love guys doing this because then I can hunt just off the edge of it,if it borders gamelands and kill deer coming to feed on the acorns.
Don`t get me wrong I`m all for some brush and tree tops but I do not agree with clear cuts unless it is just some small areas with thining most of the rest of it.
 

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Not all select cutting is high grading, I am currently low grading my crabapples that have poplars growing and shading them out.
 

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Select cutting doesn't necessarily mean anything. It usually means high grading but depends on who is doing the selecting. I'd call what Lonzo is doing TSI or timber stand improvement. He is removing the trees that are negatively affecting his management goal.
 

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Select cut can mean anything from a diameter limit cut, high grading cut, ,low grading cut and everything in between. Basically, it's a worthless term that means whatever the logger wants it to mean but it sounds nice to the landowner.


The term you want to learn is TSI. Timber Stand Improvement cut. This means cutting out the inferior trees, cutting some of the mature trees for proper spacing(no competing crowns on at least 3 sides) and before they go backwards in grade. Your woodlot will be healthier and grow much, much faster when properly space.


Getting a service forester is a good first step but they don't help you sell your timber. They can give you a list of accredited independent foresters but can't make recomendations.


In my experience, getting bids by loggers and mills will net you round 25 - 50% of your trees worth. That's on a good day. If people are too cheap to pay a forester their typical 10% commission, they deserve what they get.


Disclosure: I buy timberland
 

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I say the op can achieve his goals with the help of a good forester , he can still thin it out to make bedding areas and cover for the animals on HIS property. mi parents had our land select logged and we had areas get thick with cover for the deer and other animals, while we still left enough trees without clear cutting to reproduce future same type of trees, a good forester can do this for you with out creating junk trees
 
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