Should You Hire a Consultant?

Landowners are pouring time, money and sweat into their properties in an effort to convert marginal land into high-quality habitat that benefits turkeys, quail and a variety of other wildlife. They are planting wildlife-friendly shrubs, thinning timber and converting fallow fields into nesting habitat.

There can be a difference, though, between doing something and doing something right. While cutting trees and burning fields can be great for turkeys, cutting the wrong trees or burning at the wrong time of year can be detrimental to your goals.

Three reasons to hire a professional consultant:

  1. These experts know wildlife and wildlife habitat
  2. They examine your land and goals
  3. They’ll help you make your entire property more attractive to all kinds of wildlife

You don’t have to surrender complete control of your land to a consultant. What you do depends entirely on your budget, capabilities, knowledge and will to undertake the necessary work. Keep in mind that some things, like burning and timber harvests, are better left to professionals.

Five steps to hire the right consultant:

  1. Check the credentials and experience of the person you want to hire
  2. Consider checking references
  3. Find someone familiar with your habitat
  4. Make sure they are on the same page as you regarding your goals
  5. Ask a lot of questions

A forestry or wildlife degree isn’t necessarily an ideal qualification for providing sound advice, but it’s a good start. What matters as much as a degree is a grasp of the relationship between wildlife and habitat and how wildlife responds to various management actions. That comes with experience.

Hiring a qualified consultant not only helps ensure a better end product it also provides accountability and, ideally, responsibility.

A good consultant knows local, state and federal laws and adheres to them. Working with a professional just might benefit you, as well as the turkeys, deer and other critters sharing your land.

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