Question for timber men

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HughW2

Senior Member
I have a small tract that I have found a logger to cut. If it were larger I would be hiring a forester to manage the cut. It is a mixture of 15-20 year old loblolly and trash hard wood (sweetgum, tulip poplar) the pines need thinning, I plan to let the logger cut all the trash hardwood they want. my question is for an ideal hunting cut what would you consider to be proper density of trees per acre? 40, 50, 60, more? Thanks in advance for input.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
How many acres is it? How big are the trees? What is your desired end result? Are you comfortable burning it every 3 yrs or more frequently? What is the general topography? What is the general composition percentage wise? Were the pines planted originally?
 
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HughW2

Senior Member
100 acres, low country close to Ocmulgee River. I want it to be a hunting tract for whitetail and turkey, but I want to cut timber to help reduce cost of taxes and upkeep. I am definitely up for controlled burns every 3-5 years. Fairly flat land but does have one creek that I will leave alone as it has oaks bordering creek. i would say composition of woods is close to 50/50 pines and trash hardwood. Pines are 40 feet high or better.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
What diameter are the pines? It's really hard to give you a tree per acre figure. Once you open up the canopy you are more than likely going to have an explosion of sweetgums and brush that will be unhuntable. I would just concentrate on thinning from a timber management standpoint and have loggers clear you a couple areas you can convert to foodplots. It's going to be hard to control undergrowth in a low, fertile area with fire clean enough to be able to hunt it easily.
 

Triple C

Senior Member
I have a small tract that I have found a logger to cut. If it were larger I would be hiring a forester to manage the cut. It is a mixture of 15-20 year old loblolly and trash hard wood (sweetgum, tulip poplar) the pines need thinning, I plan to let the logger cut all the trash hardwood they want. my question is for an ideal hunting cut what would you consider to be proper density of trees per acre? 40, 50, 60, more? Thanks in advance for input.
My 20 yr old loblolly stand is scheduled for 2nd thinning. I told my forester to thin to a max basal area of 50. It it comes in closer to 40 I'll be fine. I want to make sure I have sunlight hitting the floor throughout the entire stand to produce max forbs/browse/cover.

Drive thru plantation country where quail plantations are popular and you'll see stands thinned to a 30ish basal area. 50 will give you plenty of sunlight on the floor without future crowning and still provide revenue down the road when you're ready for final harvest.
 

Dbender

Senior Member
You can google basal area and maybe get a clearer idea of what I'm trying to say. I included a pic that may help demonstrate what I'm saying. The pic illustrates the exact same basal area with differing diameters.

It's really hard to tell based off of a picture without some size reference. Just a pure guess, assuming those trees are about 8". I'd say that stand pictured is roughly 30 sq ft.
Basal area is tricky because it is the value of diam and stems per acre. Your eye generally immediately recognizes stems per acre and diam is second. This can throw off a person who doesn't understand how ba is determined. There are a lot of factors other than just thinning to a set basal area. Planted stands are entirely different than natural wood. The crown, canopy, undergrowth all have to be factored in. You need to decide for yourself what you want the end result to look like. If you don't plan on marking any of it, it all comes down to the man in the cutdown machine.
I would mark a couple acres the way I wanted it to look and have them start there. Then he can just use that spacing as a visual guide as to what you are looking for. If you open it up too much in a low, fertile, wet area it will be so choked out you won't be able to hunt it.
 

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jmock9

Senior Member
I would recommend as hard as I can say it, to hire a consultant. If the tract is all natural pine and hardwood mix, it may make it hard for them to hand mark the trees, but they will be able to guide the harvest crew at a minimum, and hold them accountable. For their 10% fee, you will not only make more money on this sale, but you will also have far better trees left for the final cuts later on. You don't want the cut down man in there cutting your best trees out now, which will make HIM more money. You want him only getting the bad trees with bad potential, and leaving you the money trees that will make saw timber or poles later on. That man running the cut down machine is what is going to make your money for your final tree cut. The consultant can also guide them on what hard woods to take, what areas to leave or protect, and have boots on the ground. 100 acres is not a small timber cut. Anyone would move in to cut a tract that size. Please Please hire a consultant.
 
I would not thin or cut the whole stand (property) the same. Clear cut some areas - leave the pines thick in some spots. Thin it heavy like you would for quail is some places. And so on. Create edges, improve access, and encourage movement - bedding to food. Consider the creeks and draws as well as any elevation changes and if you are familiar with how the deer use it now - keep that in mind when making a plan. What are your borders and access like -may you want to cut woods roads or atv trails so you can access the perimeter? Who are your neighbors - do you need to create a screen or make it difficult to see into your property from a road or neighboring hunt lease? Can you set it up where you give the deer the interior and hunt the edges? That is kind of a Jeff Sturgis approach.

I'd be tempted to clear cut at least half of it - if it's 100 acres - cut 50 (but not necessarily contiguous) maybe a block of 30 and one of 20. If you want to replant set aside about 15% made from the sale of timber for site prep and replanting. The deer are getting no benefit from the big standing pines - anything above your shoulder is for the squirrels and birds. Then give the remaining 50 a good thinning. And as jmock said - you want the loggers to leave your best trees. But it will be hard to find a logger that will do that without the timber being marked. He is going to cut what makes him the most money now. So probably worth marking it yourself or hiring someone besides the logger to mark it with your interests in mind.

The hardwoods - go in there while the stumps are fresh cut and paint them with herbicide (if they aren't fresh cut it won't take). It will be an on going battle but attack it in small chunks. Whenever you have time take a chainsaw or handsaw for the re-sprouts and a bottle of herbicide and do 100 trees at a time. Nice to have a buddy to help - put die in the herbicide. Then do it again next year and just keep after 'em. There is probably a more industrial way of doing it but that is what I do in areas that sprout heavy with sweetgum.

Exciting project - good luck
 
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