An expert woodsman who would estimate the yield of forest sections for logging companies. Timber cruisers usually worked alone in wilderness that was either unexplored or poorly mapped. They were expected to make accurate surveys of the type, quality, size, and density of trees in areas under consideration for logging. They had to travel quickly over unknown ground, survive the elements and hungry wildlife, and hunt or forage for their own food.

Timber cruisers had a reputation for bravery, cunning, wild ways, and even wilder tall tales (such as Gene Shepard's encounter with the Hodag).