Advice needed (neighbors logging property)


Well-Known Member
I received a call today from my neighbors letting me know they have signed a contract to log their property. They have roughly 240 acres in all of which approximately 120 are timber.

Directly adjacent to me is 80 acres of theirs which sits to South and West of my main piece and to East of my new piece. Here is a rough Ariel. IMG_8098.JPG

My property in white and their timber in light green.

Logger offered them $150k in all, which seemed crazy, but they have a ton of walnut and veneer trees. He also told me on the phone they are taking everything over 16”. It will be a massive cut.

Part of me is concerned. Part of me hates what these mature woods will look like. But the biggest part of me wonders how to best take advantage?

Should I have some of mine logged also?

I have best bedding in the neighborhood but afraid that changes quickly with thick nasty cover all around me.

Any advice?

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You have raised a very good question there Kwood. From what I can see the absolute best bedding cover is the nastiest thickest stuff we can grow sitting on a knoll overlooking a not so thick valley below. Logging for the sake of making dollars doesn't necessarily produce that effect. If that is correct (a complete opinion based on only one persons experience and in NY not Illinois) then do you have that in your "best bedding of the area"? And is it away from the food plots where the does are sure to be bedding? What I'm driving at is you may not get beat on bedding depending on what you have.

It is safe to think that the bucks will check out all the food plots and bedding areas in the area for does. Your property shows cleared spots for food plots on your land where the deer need to travel across your land to get to them(note-open spots already there are nice but I do not discount the idea of carving plots out of timber. I have done it and it is not that big of a deal). I like the idea of food plots in the right outside corner of the L on the upper property with multiple paths running towards that plot from the neighbors all converging in your chosen spot somewhere before the plot itself and far away from your neighbors property line.

I like to garden and think of how to steer people thru the garden so they see what I'd like them to see. And when I look at the deer movement possibilities I think of the property as a deer garden and how can I steer the deer to where I might have a chance at them. It works for me often but not always but worth considering.

One more observation based on our logging is that it draws deer from the local areas in a tremendous fashion the second or third year. The first season after logging was not so great here and maybe even really poor in the section we had logged. Luckily we cut only 1/4 of the property each year for the three years we did cut. So if you do decide to log consider doing it in as many parts as possible so that you don't experience the dead year on you whole property and so that you have a peak growth condition on at least part of your property for as long as possible.
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I can only offer this. I thinned about 300 acres of mostly and white oak...this past summer. Mostly took out the largest trees releasing the best younger trees. The logger I work with knows wildlife is a priority for me and manages the timber with that in mind.

What I can tell you is that I think it may have created the best looking habitat in all our country. I am very excited about it. This is property in La. that grows rapidly both timber and understory. Not sure how that compares to Il.? If I were in your shoes I would look at the decision tree of economics and habitat. Agreeing with Chainsaw I have found that thinned timber continuous to get better especially the first few years. Without question in my mind your neighbors timber harvest will effect deer movement in the pic you posted. Next question might be his hunting habits?
They are weekend warrior hunters. And mostly just hunt the short gun season towards end of rut. Good news is they don’t really bow hunt.

We’ve only had property 4 years and are just now starting to figure out patterns. It stinks to think that’s all going to be tossed out the window. That said, this is a very high pressure area with lots of deer killed. They get the chance to grow old but not as often as we’d prefer. Better bedding in the areas closest to me will help a few bucks pick up another year or two in age. They will be harder to hunt, but that will be true for everyone.

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Illinois timber may be different. But for here, some of the best hunting can occur after timbering from 2-7 years. I think your land lays better and since they are only hunting limited times, I think they just created a large sanitary from which you can draw with their pattern. I'd maintain hinge cut bedding areas that are attractive, a few plots to attract the bar hopping does, and manage your access well. I think you will have good luck but there will be a leaning curve on the change in patterns. The adjacent 100 ac to me was timbered and while it may look better, I'm the one that takes the mature bucks. It can be done.
One of the worst logging one can do is the high grade timbering they are about to do. It promotes shade tolerant trees which inhibits much of the natural hard mast producing trees in the long term. Typical to most logging efforts and one that has continued for a century. If you are able, fire will give you an attraction within your timber that will certainly compete with their logging, as it removes competition that inhibits mast producers and allows understory to develop naturally. Of course fire doesn't pay you 150000$. Good luck.
I'd seriously look at getting yours logged too, and use your proceeds to try to buy some of your neighbors wooded acres after they're logged.

That's what I was thinking as well. If they are looking to make money then I'd be making them a pretty solid offer on that wooded section that borders the West side of your "L". Square it off and let the field portion go fallow for some awesome bedding cover.
I think your looking at 2 options. First is to fight fire with fire and have yours cut as well and like was mentioned look into buying some of the neighbors...if they will sell after the harvest. Maybe not cut as heavily. Might be wise to tell a little white lie about how the activity will destroy deer hunting until the other trees mature....wink, wink! The other option is to simply figure those areas the neighbor has cut will be the new bedding areas, but the deer still will want other things to you will have to use any mature oaks you have to your advantage and strike first in the early bow season. Looks like you have some ag in the area so you may want to focus on late season food sources as well to draw those deer out. For what it's worth and I realize the pic may not be exact, but the piece of the neighbors I would really want (if you can't get it all) is the triangular piece that borders both your parcels. I personally would only go after the timbered ground as well, but that is just me.

I can tell you that neighboring land use and the like can have a big impact on what happens on your own good luck.
Since you may be considering the log your property option I have two additional inputs.

1. Attend the timber tax webinar at this link. Yes it is currently talking about 2016. Still it will give you a great idea about how much of what you might keep from a timber cut. A timber cut aimed at deer hunting as the priority may happen to us just once in our life time ownership of a property so it pays to time it appropriately to realize the lowest tax burden possible. 2017 will likely be available soon if it isn't already.

2. We have cut 3/4 of our property to the extreme aimed at early succession growth and that we have realized. Our deer population is growing rapidly while the general area is declining. However I feel my best chance to take a buck on any given day is up a creek bottom that happens to be in the 1/4 area we have not yet logged. It is important to note that that area is only a couple of hundred yards from where we stopped logging.

In other words, the area surrounding heavy logging that was a great place to kill a buck before the logging HERE is still an important property feature to hunt our local bucks. I capitalize here because every property is so different.
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Deer like"edge" and you should be gaining a lot of edge through this change in neighboring habitat, so it's not all bad. I have often noticed deer trails along property lines, and I think the reason is two fold. Back property lines are often a no man's land where there is less human activity, but also because property lines are usually"edge" between two different habitat types. If you move that edge 100' onto your side by cutting, you create tremendous hunting opportunities for yourself. Lowering your hunting pressure profile can also pay huge dividends in a situation like yours, the main reason deer live in thick stuff is not because it's their primary choice of habitat, it's because they are pressured and go there for safety. A deer's first choice of habitat is to move in more open cover, right along the edge of the thickest post logging overgrown areas. I think you should be sitting pretty with the cutting going on on both sides of your land.
Almost 15 years ago i logged but it wasn't an extreme cut.I left all tops where they fell.I saw more mature bucks that year than ever,even while they were still logging in late Oct.Do you think they would sell some property after they log?It should be cheaper also.The tax laws have changed since I did mine so be sure and know what you are going to end up with.I also hope your neighbors did.One thing about it at least it can cause the property to be classified as ag instead of recreational at least in some states.You would have to check yours
Great experience provided above.
I think the answer to your question is unknown. That's a lot of cover to lose in the intermediate term (Or is it?). Its a lot of cover and browse in the longer run. But, lets be realistic about the number of deer this cut affects. Five? Six? I'm not suggesting there's a right answer, but play the numbers game to get you mind wrapped the magnited (or lack thereof) of the issue. The answer lies not only in your property and the property to be timbered, but also on the land cover, slopes and elevations in the full area where a deer might consider it's range. The other thing that counts is hunting pressure - again in the full area where a deer might roam. Logging your property just presents more of the same. It might just be it's advantageous to be different. Not for me to tell you, but logging is as much more an economic consideration than a deer habitat issue. Or maybe not? How much money do you have? How much are you willing to give up?
I’ve had multiple neighboring properties logged. I couldn’t say it’s improved my hunting. It definitely hasn’t hurt my hunting. I have just kept up on making my property as enticing i can for mature bucks.
The biggest impact I have seen is neighbors who don’t hunt. Having a bording sanctuary in a maturebuck producing area, is fabulous. Having neighbors who hunt little is the next ideal.
Keep up with habitat work and you will see success!
Personally, I look at it like this: It's their property, they can do what they want with it and there's no value in me worrying about it. I certainly wouldn't want anyone advising me what to do with my property, especially if it was about how I was messing up their deer hunting. $150K buys a lot of steak dinners and vacations!

You only have so much control in life. Make your property the best you can for the purpose you want out of it. You have quite a spread outlined there in are very fortunate.