eBike Generation
Selective Logging
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
WI_Eric 11-Sep-17
12yards 11-Sep-17
sk hoyt 11-Sep-17
huntinelk 11-Sep-17
1boonr 11-Sep-17
BigOzzie 11-Sep-17
MT in MO 11-Sep-17
drycreek 11-Sep-17
MK111 11-Sep-17
Jerry 11-Sep-17
WV Mountaineer 11-Sep-17
drycreek 11-Sep-17
Screwball 11-Sep-17
Michael Schwister 12-Sep-17
Charlie Rehor 12-Sep-17
WI_Eric 12-Sep-17
Squash 12-Sep-17
WV Mountaineer 12-Sep-17
eric7553 10-Oct-17
Robear 11-Oct-17
elkstabber 11-Oct-17
WV Mountaineer 11-Oct-17
Two Feathers 11-Oct-17
WI_Eric 12-Oct-17
WV Mountaineer 12-Oct-17
Will tell 12-Oct-17
Pete In Fairbanks 13-Oct-17
bill brown 14-Oct-17
Fisher 14-Oct-17
WV Mountaineer 14-Oct-17
glunker 14-Oct-17
Pete In Fairbanks 15-Oct-17
Bow Crazy 23-Oct-17
WI_Eric 24-Oct-17
From: WI_Eric
Hi All - Just digressing from my "To Food Plot or Not To Food Plot" discussion, but as I mentioned I am having part of the property selectively logged through a private crew. We actually received a mailing from a timber management "consultant" who is a retired gentleman that claims to have worked in the industry for 40+ years throughout the country. Sounds like he is the contractor more or less. We haven't signed on the dotted line yet, but gave a tentative green light on it.

We did some searching online about this guy but very little is coming up. So question to those who might have gone through this process, what advice to you have? Things to look/watch out for? I know nothing about timber costs, and while he gave us a tutorial as we walked the property, how do I really know I'm not getting taken for a ride on this? Should I ask for an estimate on our return and how accurate should this be at the end of the project?

Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated!

From: 12yards
He's not a guy from MN is he?

From: sk hoyt
just sent you a pm

From: huntinelk
Contact one or more local sawmills of decent size, tell them you have trees to sell and would like them to give you a price. Get a few prices if possible. Chances are the price will be better and you will be dealing with an established business instead of a guy calling himself a consultant.

From: 1boonr
get a state forester involved or you will likely be screwed

From: BigOzzie
need to be careful: 1: access if there are any access issues, you can get in trouble by just sending in a contractor they may or may not look into the access and clear things up. If things are not cleared up you can get hung out to dry.

2: Permit process, make it clear who is doing any permits for road work or wet land encroachment, or stream crossings.

Montana state univ. has a great site for forestry education. not that you need to take the class but one of the documents is things to consider when signing a contract to log. and there is an extensive list of things on it. http://www.msuextension.org/forestry/Resources/pdf/SampleTimberSaleAgreement.pdf

From: MT in MO
1boonr has a good suggestion. The state forester isn't trying to buy a new boat with the proceeds from your trees...he/she can probably direct you to reputable loggers in the area too...

From: drycreek
Do it as you would check out an outfitter. Ask for references. If he won't give them, don't use him. There are lots of differences in logging contractors, as there are in plumbers, carpenters, etc. Some are very honest, but leave your land in poor shape. Some might do a good job, but try to rob you. The guy I use gives me a per ton price going in for pulpwood, chipping saw, saw logs, etc. He also sends load tickets with the check. I keep us all honest with a game cam set up on the only road going out. It's on a utility pole where everybody can see it. Do your research and at least you'll be prepared.

From: MK111
Our gunclub used a licensed state forester several years ago and everything worked out excellent. We were told by others that a sawmill is only interested in one outfit and that was the sawmill. The forester does get couple % points but way less than you would loose dealing direct with the sawmills. The forester knows the true value of the trees and more important he know which trees should be taken out and what should be left. We were told by couple guys who went direct with sawmills that they found out later that only fools deal direct.

From: Jerry
What 1boonr said, I don't how they do it up north, but when I used to cut timber we would give the land owner a percentage of what the timber brought. It would be 70/30 for veneer, 60/40 for grade logs and 50/50 for everything else. The land owner would get the higher percentage. Never EVER sign a contract that states 16 inches on the stump and bigger. Have a forester come in and mark the timber.

I'm a forester and have been one for 21 years. I've worked in the government sector, as well as a consultant, and for the industry side. Here's what I know. Which is a lot more than anyone who isn't a forester.

First off, state foresters do not regulate contract terms for any private timber sale. And, most have zero understanding of what timber markets are and, what makes them tick. Few of them understand logging and, even fewer of them have ever sold or bought a tract of timber, managed the harvest, and had to deal with the results of the obligations they promised and, the money they suggest it is worth. So, forget the advice about getting one involved. If you want to know what that little bush is growing in your back yard, they are the best at telling you that. But, if you want the best bang for your buck while meeting your wildlife goals, they simply do not posses the experience to be as good at that as you can get from other foresters.

Second, consultants can be your friend here. But, I say that as "can". They are paid a percentage of the harvested amount and, while it is common for folks to insist otherwise, have a financial incentive to see as much timber cut as possible. I'm not suggesting that a consultant wouldn't do you a good job or, be the best pick for you. Just know they get paid by your dollars and, I have witnessed many a management plan objective lose out to the interest of the consultant's payday.

Industry foresters work for sawmills. They are charged with the responsibility to log that mill. Hell or high water, they log it or they get replaced with someone that will. So, they will want to buy your timber. They also want to cut as much timber as possible from any sell. But, here is where the facts get mis-stated many times. They work by word of mouth more than any other way. So, it is very important for you to be happy with the work they offer. Most will not promise you anything they do not know they can get done. And, these are the foresters that know the loggers the best. They understand economics and the timber market, know how to best sort your timber for the highest market, they practice TSI work more than any other sector of forestry, and have the experience and responsibility to get it done right.

You'll have a score of suggestions from people who have done this and, people who "know" this, etc.... Bottom line is you get one or two chances in your lifetime to capitalize on the harvest of your timber. You want to get it right. So, get with all the foresters you can, meet them on sight, let them tell you what they think of your plans, pick one, and go with him.

Do some searching around as drycreek said. Get to know these guys. If you have a fella that hits you as being credible, he more than likely is. Same with being a blowhard. One last thing to remember; there are financial incentives driving all interests. But, you can meet all objectives you strive for if you get credible people to work with. For me, I'm working with industry guys by choice and, what I know. They have the workforce, the knowledge, and the incentive to see you get what you request and, you are happy with their services. This is coming from a guy that has and, still is on both sides of it. Cut out the middle man when possible, put more money in your pocket, and get the job you want. And, know that no retied 40 year experienced forester's mail flyers around in the mail looking for work. At the cost of stamps, that advertising gets expensive. I know. I do it weekly. You can't pay for that on SSI. God Bless

From: drycreek
WV, well said !

From: Screwball
Wi-Eric, If you wish to PM me fine. My brother and I grew up logging, my father was with WDNR fire control and timber sales. Not any longer and our father passed. We own a large tract of timber land ourselves and manage it ourselves. We are from North Central WI. If you would like some help on the state level let me know. We are happy to help anyone with advice. It's free. Good advice above. It is your timber, research first.

I had some of my property logged in 2006. I ended up with about 5% of the value of the timber, and the logger got 95%. Probably not a good deal on that, but the deer hunting has been AWESOME since......I also added about 5 acres of food plots to what was a big chunk of pine.

+1 MK111 He'll get three bids. Good luck.

From: WI_Eric
12YDS - He is not out of Minnessota. Currently resides in Crandon, WI. He mentioned spending some years in Alaska but I don't recall him mentioning Minn.

Good feedback All! Based on this I think the best route is to pump the brakes a little and get a few estimates as well as references if possible. I was hoping to get this done this winter but time is ticking and I might wind up having to push this out until the following winter if I want it done right.

So what is appropriate to ask and receive when it comes to the timber reimbursement? Do the land owners see any receipts? I like the trail camera suggestion about monitoring truck loads, and I have been given that advice from others, but what kind of checks and balances are in place for this? Or do I just assume that I am going to get a very small piece of the pie?

From: Squash
I've worked in the Forest Industry for over 40 years, as a logging contractor and private and industrial forester. I could write a book of horror stories about landowners that know nothing about timber who sold without getting professional advice.

Before you sign any contract, Hire a private Consultant Forester to work for you.

If you receive lump sum offers, there will likely be no receipts shown by a sawmill. As honest as some of these guys posting want you to believe they are versus the mean old nasty sawmill foresters, every single one of these guys would take the info of what the mill estimated to pay for their road work, logging rates, rock, reclamation supplies, etc... and blab their mouths off to their competition about it, trying to get a better deal for themselves. All the while insinuating that they are the honest ones and, a sawmill is bad. My how perspective changes things. Anyways, if you get multiple bids, you'll receive fair market value for your tract from the sawmills. Not because I say so but because, economics demand it

It really is that competitive between mills, when you involve multiple mills. So, there is very little chance they are going to trust with that info for the EXACT reason I just told you. Besides, if you get multiple offers, you'll see the market for your timber in the offers. So, there is no need for receipts.

If you deal with a logger direct, you had better be sure to include that you get proof of load counts, pay rates, rock cost, etc..... I'm not insinuating they are thieves because most are not. But, they will not offer a lump sum bid likely either. So, you get that assurance in contract before agreeing to anything with them. If they don't want to show you that info, then you don't need to be working with them. Cutting on a percentage demands you see the costs where your share is going and, where it is coming from.

A consultant will put the sale together and offer it for a bid to the mills. He will take 8 to 10% of the lump bid amounts as pay for his services.

Ask everyone of them how they pay, what means they intend to log with, tell them your wildlife plans, and listen to their suggestions on how to achieve it. If they intend to do a pay as cut based on percentages, do not do business with anyone that won't give you copies and receipts for all costs and, demand weekly load sheets. Ask them when they plan to cut it and, if it is a winter job. If its winter work, it will drive a premium. Them knowing you understand that will ensure you get the best they are willing to offer.

Your timber is worth what a mill is willing to pay, minus the cost it takes to get it there. No matter who cuts it. That is how your offers are going to be derived. So, know what rock costs, what seed and mulch costs, what it costs to build a road suitable for trucking the timber etc... And use that info to determine who is offering you the best deal. Regardless of a percentage, pay as cut,or lump sum offer.

Good luck and God Bless .

From: eric7553
Another question: We decided to select cut another 10-15 acre section of the property. So I am curious if we would have a larger return if we did the 2 separate areas at the same time? Ie., will we lose out on some cash if we split this into 2 operations over a year or so instead of all at once. Does that make sense?

From: Robear
I am in the middle of having my timber sold. I decided to go with a service forester. As far as I can see, everything WV has posted is right on the money. Some things tothink about that I didn't consider. Are the crew cutting the timber covered with workers comp insurance? Has a plan been filed with local soil and water office? Have all utility companies been contacted to let them know of possible problems? How about any oil/gas well lines? The list goes on and on. As well as getting the best prices through the bidding process, and insuring the health of you woodlands to insure income from future sales. Be aware that a lot of outfits buy their timber a year ahead of time, so combine that with the time it takes for the service forester to do his job and you are looking at at over a year before any cutting is done. My contract was for all money to be paid before any tree was cut, with another amount put into escrow in case the loggers don't follow through with reclaiming.

From: elkstabber
WV nailed it. Only thing I want to clear up is the term "forester". A "state forester" means a government employee, probably hired by the Department of Forestry, or a similar department name. A "state forester" can offer general advise but that's about all. A "consultant forester" or "industry forester" is the person that you want to work with. These foresters are being asked more and more these days to balance the habitat value with timber value.

You'll get more for it selling it now, if it comes from the same site. Versus moving in and moving out.

Moving equipment takes permits, special heavy hauling Permits. They are expensive. To absorb that cost once versus doing it twice, will directly affect the price you are offered. The down time moving also positively affects it when it can be done once versus twice. So, yes it should positively increase the amount you receive.

Here's the hard truth. Most consultants don't know this. No loggers are going to tell you this because they are going to want more for themselves. The only people who will tell you this is an industry forester. So, don't be surprised if any one besides them denies that if you ask them.

Get it sold when you sell the other. It'll be in your best interest monetarily. If weather or unforeseen circumstances causes the crew to pull out, sobeit. That happens more times than you realize. It is just the way things go. But, if you've sold it initially, the buyer absorbs that cost. Not you. Good luck and God Bless

From: Two Feathers
Excellent thread. I'll have to book mark this one!

From: WI_Eric
WVM - That is exactly what I suspected. Thanks for confirming and continuing to check in on this topic!

You are welcome. I'm just trying to ensure you understand this. Remember, you don't take a mechanics advice about brain surgery. Treat this the same way. Because you are only going to get one or two chances at it. God Bless

From: Will tell
You might want to talk about how he is going to leave your woods. If they cut in wet weather I've seen them tear up a woods with three and four foot ruts. They been known to leave a real mess. A doctor from another town owned twenty acres of timber close to where I lived. A logger pulled in with his equipment and logged the twenty acres. The doctor didn't find out about it till two years later. Loggers are also known to cut on your neighbors property so make sure he knows where your property lines are. Most are honest but there are some real bad ones out there.

You have been given a lot of advice here; a lot of it good! As a forester (retired now for nearly 20 years,) I would urge you to get yourself some advice from a forester working for YOU, not a forester working for the potential buyer of your wood.

I would advise you to think about designing your logging plan to achieve the objectives YOU have for your land. NOT just how to get the most money out of this cut. Selective harvest is fine, but what are you selecting for? If you just "select" the stems that will bring the highest prices, you may be left with what I call a "silvicultural slum!" If you take the good stems and leave the junk, you will have a forest/woodlot full of junk. If that's what you want, fine. But if it were me, I'd want to be able to do another cut in a few years, and a few years after that... etc. And in the meantime, I'd want the property to be conducive to attracting deer and other wildlife. If you just cut and remove the valuable logs, that may not result in a wildlife-friendly forest much less a continued yield of wood over the years.

Determine what you want from your forest and THEN design the harvest to enhance that desired condition.


From: bill brown
We made a huge mistake and let loggers work in the summer. If you do, expect your roads to be completely torn up and huge ruts. Just saying, you will be a lot better off if they work when the ground is frozen. We were paid by the log when sold, 50-50, but some of the logs didn't get sold and some were just left in the woods. It's only been a year, so I can't comment on benefits or detriment to deer hunting, but access to the property has been severely damaged.

From: Fisher
I have been involved in many very well organized managed timber sales and logging jobs as a practicing attorney, tree farmer, and land manager. Also, I have seen disastrous timber sales and logging jobs. I am retired and work when it suits me.

There is much to plan and organize, and it is worthwhile to do so. The more you put into the process, the more you get out of it. Identify your goals. Trees and timber are very valuable. My best advice - do not let anyone rush you into anything. Mark and inventory EVERY individual tree to be cut and sold. Every element of the sale must be specified in a contract - skidding roads, water bars, cutting dates, tree tops, begin and end dates, contract expiration, contract extension terms, progress payments, payment amounts, payment dates, insurance, workers comp, best logging practice certification, and more. Having professionals working for you does not cost you, it pays you!

Expect that after the logging, you will be shocked. Your land will look very different. It will get better, if you had a detailed plan in place.

Best wishes.

Fisher for the win. If I were a word smith, I'd said everything I have said up to this point, the way he just did. God Bless

From: glunker
I did not read every post, but a select cut is not good for wildlife habitat and it is not good for long term timber appreciation/growth. Find a Forester that can tell you how to get the max value while still creating deer habitat. A good Forester not only marks the hi value trees but also stunted or junk trees that will block quality growth on a young straight tree. Likely you want some small areas cut open for quick growth of deer browse and cover. I had 140 acres timbered out of my 190 of woods about 2 years ago. I already have better habitat. Good luck.

Select cut CAN be what you want to do. It just depends which stems you select.

Any harvest design that does not take all the stems is, by definition, a Select Cut! Otherwise it is a Clear Cut. Btw, there is nothing wrong with Clear Cuts; it just depends on how big they are. A series of "patch" Clear Cuts can be very effective and leave the maximum amount of "edge" effect.

If you just "select" the stems that will bring you the most money at the mill, there is a pretty good chance you will end up with a woodlot/forest full of residual junk.

Hire a forester to work for YOU, to design the cut to achieve YOUR objectives for this particular piece of ground. That probably isn't going to be the same as "getting the most money out of THIS timber sale," unless you are planning to sell the property right away. Any idiot can lay that sale out!


From: Bow Crazy
Hi Eric,

What part of Wisconsin? I may have a connection for you if in northern part of the state. I am using him on our farm in the west central part of the state. A private, consulting forester that is a deer hunter/deer steward as well.

Now is the time to think about landscaping your land for better deer and better deer hunting. Lay out your property, landscape it for your benefit as well as wildlife. A couple of great books to read: there are three by Jeff Sturgis that I would highly recommend, one by Steve Bartylla. "White-tailed Deer Management and Habitat Improvement". Start with Jeff's first book and Steves to get you started down the right path.


From: WI_Eric
Hi Bow Crazy - our property is in the northern part of the state, ~ 8 miles west of Minocqua. We have 1 bid, are working on a second bid, and I'm interested in a third so yes feel free to pass on his info here or IM me if you would prefer.


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