More Effective Than Food Plots!

Your place to discuss ways the habitats for deer can be improved!
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JPH
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby JPH » Tue May 08, 2012 12:32 pm

Deebz wrote:JPH, After seeing what your hired guy did, how difficult do you think it would be to replicate the work in other sections of your ground?


Great question! Money is always tight so I've definitely considered that very question. His bid was $300 for each phase of the plan, with the hinge cutting phase being on my own. Not only is he a knowledgeable habitat manager, he is a highly skilled woodcutter and wildland firefighter with professional grade equipment.

Assuming that I had his eye for knowing what trees will produce the best results (which I do not), I'd still have a lot of hidden costs. I own two small chainsaws and I am far from being an expert in their use. I can take 10" trees easily enough but anything bigger begins to slow me down quite a bit. I seem to wind up bogging my saw down or dealing with hangups. I think that it would take me at least three days to do the work that he can do in one. The property is 75 miles from my home. Then we're looking at between $150 and $200 in fuel, another $50 or so in food, $20 to $30 in bar oil, saw blades etc. and the hidden costs of time away from responsibilities at home. I don't mind being on the property or doing work there, in fact I love it, but I have to balance it with family life.

I would encourage anyone with the time and know how to go it alone. But, in the end, I find the $300 to be money well spent and I can devote my time to jobs that are within my skill set, such as hinge cutting, mowing, painting the cabin, hanging stands, etc.

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Ohio farms
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby Ohio farms » Tue May 08, 2012 5:21 pm

The concept of "hinge cutting" has interested me since I first heard it in one of the past discussions by you. I had a tree (5 inch diameter) that was bent over and split by a bigger dead tree that fell on it a couple of years ago. The tree stayed horizontal to the ground and continued to grow...great cover. I'm impressed by what you did and motivated to try some hinge cutting on my place. I doubt if I will get to it any time too soon, but I will this summer.
Keep life simple...if you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

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JPH
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby JPH » Wed May 09, 2012 1:39 pm

Ohio farms wrote:The concept of "hinge cutting" has interested me since I first heard it in one of the past discussions by you. I had a tree (5 inch diameter) that was bent over and split by a bigger dead tree that fell on it a couple of years ago. The tree stayed horizontal to the ground and continued to grow...great cover. I'm impressed by what you did and motivated to try some hinge cutting on my place. I doubt if I will get to it any time too soon, but I will this summer.


A few points to consider re-hinge cutting.

My conservationist warned against using it on a large scale. It is a great way to get cover and browse down to the deer quickly but it will not restore natural habitat. I use it as a "privacy screen" around the perimeter of the property. He advised against using it as a tool in the middle of the timber.

I've found that it works best on green trees of 5" or smaller. I cut down into the trunk at a sharp angle and quit as soon as I think I can pull it over by hand. The more trunk and bark you can leave, the better chance the tree will survive and flourish. I also do most of my work in the winter. I do not know how hinge cutting during the summer will work. I'm sure you could find some good info online.

Good luck and share pics if you can.

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Ohio farms
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby Ohio farms » Thu May 10, 2012 3:39 pm

My thinking was to use it as an edge. I'll certainly followup up some pictures.
Thanks for the insight JPH
Keep life simple...if you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

arpy00
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby arpy00 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:09 pm

What, if any, is the best time of year to hinge cut the trees?
Chuck

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bioactive1
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby bioactive1 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:50 am

We have done a lot of hinge cutting on our properties. Because they are designed only for deer hunting, timber has been removed for the most part and we often take out much of the canopy. This produces the most robust sprouting.

Here is a poplar area that was extensively hinge cut. Virtually nothing grew in the canopy in that area. The other pictures are from the following summer. It became like a food plot in this area.

Right after the damage
Image

Same shot in July the year after they were cut. Notice how open the canopy is. That is what is required for regrowth this robust.
Image

The area is used like a food plot. Every new poplar shoot, plus hawthorn and white oak shoots, are being browsed (new oaks would not have grown in this spot in a hundred years).
Tops are nipped off virtually every new tree growing in this area.
Image

This is an adjacent area that still is canopied, showing what the understory was like before the cutting.
Image

I went in there a couple of weeks ago and the new poplars are now above my head. I had raked about 30 spots in there for deer beds and every single one of them had hair in it.

"Let there be light."

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bioactive1
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby bioactive1 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:08 am

The real test is whether it helps reduce visibility in winter. Here is a before and after of an area where we were considering a tree stand in the beech. You could easily see 100-200 yards through the woods. One year later, you could not see more than 30-40 yards from ground level.

Before
Image

After
Image

Here we only took out half the trees. One of the problems with this woodlot is it had many mature basswood trees. However, there was not a basswood seedling to be found anywhere. Basswood is one of the most desired browse species so any time a seedling pops its head up it is gone before it can get traction. We want to leave a number of basswoods to keep production going. Now that we have all the trash on the ground, seedlings will be able to come up where the deer cannot reach them under tree tops.

Here is another example from the same woods. The first shot shows an area that was wide open through the woods 150 yards (you can't quite see because there is a hill crest there).
Image

Now there is a complete barrier just 15 yards from the stand, so a hunter can enter here without being seen, and then shoot over that barrier, or shoot deer coming around it. Beyond the barrier, about 50% of the trees have been cut.
Image

All useful timber was removed from these woods propor to hinging. The decision here is to make this purely into deer hunting property and not worry about timber harvest in such a small woods 20 years down the road.

danesdad
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby danesdad » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:09 pm

A tornado came through our area last year and did a lot of "hinge cutting".
Hunting: 10% skill and 90% location.

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Ohio farms
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby Ohio farms » Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:03 pm

Great pictures Bioactive1. Seeing the hinge cutting was very helpful.
Welcome to the Forum, by the way.
Keep life simple...if you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.

mah712rn
 
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Re: More Effective Than Food Plots!

Postby mah712rn » Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:53 pm

I had a wildlife specialist walk the property with me. I told him that I wanted the best deer and turkey hunting possible, but pointed out that single species habitat management is unsound in the long run. He drew up a plan for 4 different areas of management and one DIY project for me. 3 of the 4 areas were 1.5 acre professional timber management sites, with an emphasis on thinning to enhance mast production and promote low level understory. The 4th area was to burn my tillable plot and seed it in native grasses. The DIY part was for me to perform hinge cuts around the perimeter of the property, both as an attractant and as a security measure.


How do I locate a qualified wildlife/land specialist to help with a plan? I have 20 acres adjacent to 500 acres of DNR wildlife area. I cant manage the wildlife area but can manage mine. I also am in farm country so I am surrounded by soy bean and corn fields so I think natural habitat would benifit more than food plots

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