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How to Hinge Cut Trees for Deer – Why is it so Beneficial?


Since habitat improvement for whitetails has become more popular recently, a lot of hunters and land owners want to know how to hinge cut trees for deer. Well that depends on what you are trying to accomplish on your property. The main reasons for hinge cutting trees for deer are:

  • Creating more¬† browse down to the deers’ level.
  • Opening up the mature overhead tree canopy to let in more sunlight which creates even more browse.
  • Creating bedding areas for bucks and does so you can house more deer on your land.
  • Developing travel corridors for deer to move only where you want them.
  • Create a barrier zone to eliminate all deer and hunter movement in a particular area.
  • Create a visual screen or barrier for hunter access and movement to stands.

Even though there are six different benefits listed above as to why you might want to hinge cut your trees, there are really only three different goals that you want to accomplish by hinge cutting trees for deer:

  1. Bedding
  2. Barriers and Screens
  3. Travel and Transition Zones

If you have a well laid out habitat plan on your property which incorporates the above 3 hinge cut features, you will most likely have the best optimized hunting property in your area for attracting and holding deer, deer movement, and huntability….is that even a word….it is now :mrgreen:

The correct way on how to hinge cut trees for deer is to always cut flat or level to the ground, and cut through the tree just enough to get it to lay down. The goal is to always keep as much of the tree attached as possible. The portion of the trunk just under the bark is known as the cambium layer. This is the vascular system which feeds the entire tree. If you can preserve this layer on one side of the tree, it will continue to keep it alive for years giving deer more natural browse on which to feed.

Two great tips to cutting as little into the tree as possible is by pounding a 1″ plastic wedge into the cut which will force the top of the tree over significantly and then allow gravity to take over. The other tip is to use a long pole with a hook on the end to pull the tree down when it needs a little encouragement.

Another method to keeping hinge cuts intact is to hinge cut some smaller trees first, and then hinge cut the larger trees to land on top of them in order to give them a softer landing. Many times it is a hard landing on the ground which causes large trees to break off when hinge cutting trees for deer.

Now that you know the basic method on how to hinge cut trees for deer, it’s very important to keep safety as the number one goal. After all, you want to be around to hunt your new whitetail paradise come hunting season. I’ll post another article about safety in the near future.

In the meantime, check out the video below.

So formulate a habitat plan and get out there before the leaves start popping and start hinge cutting some trees. Firing up a chainsaw and doing it yourself is one of the fastest ways to learn how to hinge cut trees for deer.

If you would like to see dozens of step-by-step how to videos, check out my video site on how to hinge cut trees for deer bedding areas, transition zones and screening cover.



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2 thoughts on “How To Hinge Cut Trees For Deer
  1. Kent says:

    I`ve been enjoying your postings these last couple of months and would like to share a couple of ideas with you. I was lucky enough to be able to buy 40 acres of land back in 1986 in central Wisconsin. My dream was to some day be able to harvest a mature buck. The land was about half mature woods with no understory.and the other half abandoned pasture with some open areas, and some overgrown crab apple trees with a couple of small thick bedding areas. I immediatly started in on habitat improvement plan. My main focus at the start was to establish three seperate orchards on the property of about a dozen trees each, mostly apple, some pear and plums. This was by far my most benificial move to date. Shortly after that I started to put in food plots of mostly clover and rye none larger than a half an acre. Next was to turn my open woods into several different thick bedding areas, and a couple more small orchards. Next I put in a couple of small ponds, just with a small tractor, and planted some different kinds of pines. Today after 25 years of hard work and countless hours of pure enjoyment. ( I enjoy working with the land now more than the hunting ) I have a hunting paradise on steroids. The buck sign and buck sightings are also unreal. I only bowhunt this property and in 25 years have only shot two bucks off this property, one grossed 172 in and the other 165 inches 210lbs, but have passed up hundreds of others. The orchards are by far my biggests assests and bang for the buck, beat food plots hands down for cost,man hours, and attraction. Once established they can provide, with the right variaties, a sweet treat from July through the late season. But there are several tips that I have learned along the way that really make orchards shine that I would be more than happy to share with you if your interested. Keep up the good work on helping other wildlife enthusiasts in there journeys. Kent

  2. Steve Perry says:

    I bought 65 acres about 10 years ago. About 5 years ago I planted 20 fruit trees. Only about 8 survived. Can you give me some pointers on starting an orchard for the deer? Thank You

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