FARMINGTON — Felling a tree can look pretty straightforward, but forestry students proved Friday that’s it’s anything but.

Closely supervised by instructors and judges, about 70 students competed on the second day of the 42nd Annual Loggers Meet at the training area next to Mt. Blue High School on Seamon Road. Students came from the Foster Career and Technical Education Center, Oxford Hills Technical School in Paris, Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico and the School of Applied Technology in Houlton.

Rodney Spiller said he and other instructors require students to learn modern techniques and the importance of doing a good job. Safety is paramount, he said.

“Students learn about setting a hinge in a tree by using this bore station,” he said. “The bore station shows they have control of their saw.”

Judge Peter Tracy, a professional forester for 33 years, said modern techniques allow the loggers to control the exact way the tree will fall.

“The old-fashioned way meant we made a shallow notch and cut in from the back and running like hell when the tree fell,” he said.

Today, making a tree fall exactly where the logger needs it to go requires a plan and a knowledge of extremely precise and safe chain saw technique, he said.

The bore cut required the logger to plunge the chain saw into the tree trunk to start working toward a hinge while keeping an uncut section on the opposite side, he said. If the bore cut is done incorrectly, the tree won’t fall where it’s supposed to.

Courtney Grundy, left, and Nikki Camire, students at the Foster Career and Technical Education Center in Farmington, compete in crosscut sawing at the 42nd Annual Loggers Meet on Friday in Farmington. (Valerie Tucker photo)

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