Buckers and Fallers


Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources > Buckers and Fallers > Overview
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Buckers and Fallers

Buckers and Fallers - Overview

Loggers work in teams to build and repair roads, clear brush, cut and buck trees, and move logs to mills and shipyards.

Loggers inspect standing trees to see if they are useful and safe to cut. They mark trees they do not want cut. They designate a falling area where the trees will be cut and trimmed. They do this by clearing brush away from the trees, using chain saws, axes, and tractors.

Fallers are logging workers who cut down trees. When trees are more than two feet in diameter, fallers cut them down by hand using axes and chainsaws. With smaller trees, they may use equipment to fell, move, and load them. Fallers decide how to direct the falling trees. They make their cuts and position wedges and jacks to control the fall.

Fallers start the felling process by using axes to score cutting lines onto trees. They cut along these lines with chainsaws. They make back cuts, being sure to leave enough wood to control the tree. Fallers insert jacks and drive wedges behind the chainsaw. This keeps the saws from getting stuck and starts the trees falling. As the tree falls, they stop the saw, remove it, and move to a safe location to avoid injury. Fallers put limbs or poles under felled trees to protect the trees from splitting on the underside and to keep them from rolling.

Once trees are felled, buckers trim the tops and branches and cut trees using chainsaws and axes. Choker setters fasten cables to logs that are ready to be moved. Logging tractor operators drag or skid logs to the landing area. Yarder operators load logs into trucks or rail cars, or stack them for pickup by helicopters. They may use radios to talk to truck drivers or helicopter pilots.

Some loggers operate heavy-duty equipment. For example, they sometimes operate logging tractors to build or repair logging roads. They also use this equipment to pull stumps and clear brush. Some loggers use horses to pack their equipment in and drag logs out of cutting areas. Other loggers may travel to cutting sites by helicopter and use helicopters to haul the logs out.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.