There is quite a range of private companies in forestry. Some like Plum Creek, Weyerhaeser, and Potlatch directly own large tracts of timberland and manage them for production.
Weyerhaeser is pretty vertically integrated and even has its own research division.
What you also see a lot of these days are investment funds.
Companies like Lyme Timber own lots of land and pay share holders profits from the management. Consulting firms can be either pretty big operations like Prentiss and Carlisle, just one forester or anything in between. Consultants don't own their own land, but private landowners pay them to do management. This can be on the scale of Lyme Timber paying Prentiss and Carlisle to manage 200,000 acres, or one forester working on many different privately owned 200 acre mom & pop family woodlots.
People with a 4 year degree can easily get into field work. It's easier for someone with a 4 year degree to get into academic stuff than it is for someone with a 2 year degree.
And as for work in the government, in my opinion it's very difficult to get permanent jobs with the fed. I have several friends that did seasonal work year after year with the USFS for and yet they did not get permanent placement when the graduated. Yet, if you do land a full time job somewhere you can probably expect to keep it until you die if you want. With the USFS, you have the opportunity to move up and move around. But the problem is, there are a lot fewer opportunities when you want to stay in one place vs opportunities for 150 National Forests across the country.
The more opportunities you can take advantage of, the more that will be provided to you.
Fruit trees can be tricky, if you over prune you may have to skip a year of fruit in what is known as biennial bearing. This doesn't mean that the tree will become biennial perinately, it just means that you will be missing out on a year of growth.
Typically it's best to prune apple trees in the winter when they're dormant, unless you are just removing broken or diseased branches.
Pruning when dormant generally results in vigorous new growth come spring, but the sap isn't running so you can take larger branches. Pruning during the rest of the year taking large branches can result in a risk for the tree. This isn't a given, but it shouldb e avoided..
You may have been told to prune in winter for structure and this is good solid advice. During th rest of the year you should only prune for size control and sickness, though a well maintained tree will tend to grow in the right direction for a number of seasons before any major work needs to be invested.
Size control is a simple task. You need to decide how tall you want the tree to be. If you only want your tree to be three yards tall you will cut off all new growth above that level. This results in a more uniform thickness and shape for the branches under that mark.
One thing that you may need to do with a well maintained tree is to focus on the fruit control. When they are caredfor they will tend to produce more fruit.
That means you may need to prune even if you have the right shape. Summer pruning can help thin the fruit load, keep the tree to a specific height, and thin out water shoots.
You have to be careful you don't get rid of next years fruiting wood though.
Trees, while not like us, can be infected with a wide variety of disease. If you have questions you can ask the extension office or other organizations in your area for advice.
Generally they like a photo of the whole tree from far away, one of the whole tree closer up, one of an infected branch, then a photo of an infected leaf or blossom.
Then put a magnifying glass up to an infected leaf and snap a shot of the front of the leaf then another of the back so that they can see the details.
Email all the photos to your extension office along with the variety of apple that you're growing and any other symptoms the photos don't show, and they'll tell you exactly what to do to make your tree fruit again!
A career doesn't start once you graduate, it starts as soon as you set your sights on it. For wildlife and forestry careers that means that you need to do volunteer work, and as much as you can. Experience is what will get you farther than anything else. Here are some areas to look into.
- data entry
- field work
- lab work
Don't be afraid to do plant jobs or wildlife jobs. Both focus on a lot of plant work and knowing your stuff can be very helpful. Because your focus isn't just "wildlife science" but "wildlife ecology."
Get to know your professors as well as they will let you get to know them. Some are more friendly than others. And some will be willing to help you when you graduate, build a repatrau with them.
Make it clear that you want to get involved.
They will be able to tell you if there is a natural resources-related club in your college.
Make friends with your fellow colleagues as some may get you far.
The more you do during your college years, the more people you get to know and stick with, and keep up with after graduation, the better off you'll be.
And you will find work everywhere. Some people are working happily at zoos, some on conservation projects, some as rangers for national parks like Yellowstone.
The ones who are going for their Masters?
I can work for them and the higher-ups I'm still friends with. And you make those friends by making sure that every summer of college you work in the field work, both inside and out-of-state. The pay was low, but the jobs were fun and the experience was priceless, both on my resume and in my life. Check your college job boards, T A&M frequently, and apply for summer jobs in the early early spring.
If you are 100% new, try renting a couple times. Start with a short, wide beginner boat, then try again in a faster boat once you are used to the feel of a kayak.
Some shops offer demo days to try different boats.
I too paddle calm waters generally, but I do appreciate being able to get a little speed going if the mood strikes. A lot of people get the hang of the sport very quickly, so don't undershoot on the boat. Sit on tops and ultra cheap big box store boats will go slow, and only slow. People seem to love recommending terrible boats sometimes because they are "safer" (you would be surprised how many times that suggest boats that aren't all that safe) and cheap. Speed and efficiency go hand-in-hand.
You may not need a fast boat, but you will definitely appreciate efficiency. If it looks like a bathtub or something rented out at family resorts, it probably paddles as well as a barge
The car part is easy. There are kits with foam blocks and straps that work very well once you get the hang of the proper tie-down technique. Roof racks are great if you have the money, but put most of your cash towards a decent boat and a decent paddle. Other than that:
- a comfy PFD
- water shoes
- a light source
- a water bottle
- a wetsuite or waterproof jacket (depending on the where you live)
And not to forget a way to get back in your kayak when you're alone.
Take courses and learn what you are doing, kayaking is more challenging than you may think.
I walleye fish on the kayak all the time from my kayak, it is a lot of fun, and I get to be out on the water. I have used it all, and in it all works, you just have to know when to use it. I have caught them on crankbaits, shadraps, bucktail jigs tipped with worms.
Lately however I have been having the most success with jig and minnow.
And as I have heard it seems to be the way to go for walleye, and for basically every lake that you want to catch walleye on.
Usually pink, white, or half and half pink/white are the most productive color of jig heads. They need to be able to see it if you want them to take the bate.
On rivers jigs work as well, but also I find that crankbaits work a little better in rivers than on lakes.
The main thing to consider regardless of what you are using for lures, is that you get the right depth.
Depth is one of the main problems people run into when they are fishing. No matter if it is walleye or any other type, you need to know the deth of water you are fishing in. That is why I use a fish finder.
Walleye like to sit on the bottom and when we jig we basically drop it till it hits bottom and then take up slack and pull it up an inch or two.
A common technique is to pound the bottom. This is a technique I picked up from a good friend of mine who swore by the technique, and I have to admit it is a good one. When you pound, you baically get their attention. By raising the jig up a foot or two and letting it sink quickly to the bottom to hit and make a thud, then hold it an inch or two off again.
Do this every couple minutes and you will often get a strike as the jig is falling to the bottom or just after you hit the bottom and are raising it that inch or two.
Walleye have good eyesight, and are night time predators with excellent night vision so if you can be out later at dusk or into the night you will likely see more action, same with early morning.
The chances of success tend to die off during midday. While I have had some luck, you can still catch, it's just much harder.
In murky water use bright colors like pink, orange, bright green, white. In clearer water use more natural colors, silver, blues, browns, etc.
Also, be sure you have a nice sensitive rod. Walleye are notorious for having a 'soft' bite and often you will feel them nibble on the minnow a while before they actually take it.
If your rod is not sensitive enough you can often have your minnow stolen and never feel a thing.
I fish a big watersports lake in mine all the time, and during prime ski boat/powerboat/jetski season I just pretend nothing more than 50 feet off the shore exists.
They let any idiot with an ID and credit card rent a boat/jetski these days, so it's just not quite worth the risk to me to fish the islands or channels during the high time of year.
If you do cross big open water, I would recommend a couple of flags/reflectors on poles mounted to your boat so you stick out like a sore thumb.
I know some guys who like to fish for Walleye at night, so make like a Christmas tree if you do that... there are plenty of waterproof LED light strips/bars/spotlights you can rig up that will put out a lot of light without using a lot of juice. And always wear your PFD. Good luck and stay safe out there.
The charm of becoming a wildlife biologist is that there is so much room to grow. And if you are willing to evolve you can reach lofty heights.
While it's not the easiest path on the planet, you will have multiple hurdles standing in your way, as well as the physical aspects that play a role in this career. If you are aware of all of that, willing to over come them, then it is definitely possible to make a career of it. And there is no doubt that it can be a fulfilling job for the right person.
If you are just starting out make sure that you gain experience with:
- compass work
- tree canopy height
- tree canopy cover estimation
Understanding topo maps is the most important (imo) as is the ability to follow different protocols.
And while these are not crucial wildlife oriented skills, not in the same manner as the ones I just mentioned, they are important:
operating a 4 wheel drive vehicle
- hiking in rough terrain
- If you have or can acquire backpacking and unique hiking type experiences recreationally it can really help you get your foot in the door.
I want to look at the different skills a little bit more and hopefully shine some light on areas that you may find interesting.
This is what everything comes down to. Are you dedicated?
- Show initiative early.
- Any type of effort/motion forwards regardless of the specific experience shows how intense your devotion is.
- This is a difficult field with a high dropout rate; show people you are serious.
- Think hard and decisively about how to stand out on paper.
- Over time you can paint a picture of your personality, intelligence, passion, and competency and make them your strongest attributes.
There are some universal skills as well as path-specific investments. Whether it's birds, mammals, fish, herpetofauna, habitat restoration, wetland based work et cetra.
Here are some areas to look at:
Lots of jobs and a lot of wildlife tech positions are out of reach without general knowledge and experience.
An important thing to note is that it is very easy to get pigeon holed in this type of work because of it's relevance and the difficulties of lining up preferred seasonal jobs back to back.
- GIS- A rapidly developing field with high demand and universal applications to natural science fields.
- Wilderness Medicine-a Wilderness First Responder certification is an important supplementary skill.
- If Wilderness First Responder is too tall on an order, Wilderness First Aid is just as good in most circumstances.
- 4x4 and ATV operation and maintenance
- General outdoor skills in remote settings, extreme environments, and rough terrain.
- Data entry, analysis, examples of technical writing.
- Displayed skill and adaptability to different types of survey technologies. Some examples of what I mean are:
- water quality testing
- acoustic tech for bats
- radio telemetry
- mist netting
- firearm safety and operation.
- Handling of wildlife
- You can approach this by volunteering at rehabilitation clinics, there are plenty of them around the country.
- Working at night is a skill in and of itself, and if you are comfortable in this situation you can also open a few doors.
- If you will be working around any larger body of water or river, boat experience is a good skill to have. Here are some aspects to focus on:
- Outboard motor operation
- General oar/rowing experience.
- Boating license when necessary
- Complimentary to this would be a Swift Water Rescue Certification, this is similar to Wilderness First Responder.
- Use of spotting scopes and binoculars for bird related work.
- It's pretty easy to find low paying or volunteer work to get some bird experience.
- Vegetation sampling, habitat delineation/surveying, and/or plant identification in the respective ecosystem of interest.
- Travel or take specific coursework of relevance.
- The basic question here is show diversity, tolerance, and adaptive knowledge bases.
- Ornithology is a big employment field within wildlife biology and many volunteer positions are available everywhere.
From what I have seen networking with advisors and teachers has gotten pretty much all of my classmates their first job.