Hinge Cutting

Your place to discuss ways the habitats for deer can be improved!
User avatar
Posts: 547
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:17 am

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby dmcianfa » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:28 am

ORIGINAL: allthingshunting

How do you make the hinge cut iteslf?  I am very familiar with cutting down trees, i sell firewood as a side job... but how is a hinge cut best applied?  Do i make a wedge cut and start my backcut only going as far as necessary to make the tree fall, thus hopefully keeping the tree "attached" to its root system?  Many times the tree won't fall until it is pretty much no longer attached.  Should there be no wedge cut, just cut it so it falls the way it is leaning (i don't like making a cut like this, causes splitting and other unsafe scenarios).

The new sprouts most of you refer to, are they coming from the newly exposed stump area (i.e. now you have a tight cluster of saplings originating from the stump) or are you trying to get offshoots from the downed tree itself (i.e. new vertical shoots off of the now horizontal tree?)  I have seen both of these occur naturally, just curious as to which scenario this cutting is supposed to create. (maybe both)

maybe the best help would be an article with some pictures?  anyone know of any?  I will take any advice / instruction that one can offer.

I thank you in advance.


To answer your question as I see, but some may do it slightly different, hinge cutting is done as follows:

Do not make a wedge cut or a back cut.  I  start by picking a spot I want to cut depending on deer travel and habits on my property or where I would like them to "hang" out.  I usually pick the 5-10" dia. trees that have a few good solid years of growth underneath them and because they are easier to fell.  I then start my cut about 4 ft. off the ground working the blade towards the forest floor at a 45 degree angle until I am about 2/3 through the tree.  This is the important part.  Since, it is sometimes still difficult to fell the tree even by pushing at this point I make one more cut in a vertical manner about 6" from the endpoint of my last cut.  This means sticking the tip of the saw into the heart of the tree and working it in making sure that you connect with your last cut, then I go down a few more inches.  This helps to "persuade" the tree to fall and if its leaning it becomes much easier.  This also prevents some splitting that can be dangerous as you stated.  If there are splinters coming from the trunk I remove them after the tree is felled very carefully with the saw, so as not to cut all the way through.  You should see new sprouts coming from the trunk in a short period of time.  This also keeps the buds on the felled portion for food as well for a duration of time depending on how far your cut is into the tree.  I have also noticed that these trees are more susceptable to disease once cut, so if you have a disease in your area don't be suprised if these trees contract it fairly quickly and easily.  The scenerio your trying to create is a good base cover for the deer to promote bedding with overhanging branches and what not and at the same time provide new growth with high nutrient buds for feeding purposes.  The deer will feed on the felled buds as well as the new growth from the stumps.  Most times you will get so many new sprouts from the stump it will look like a bush and is right at the browse line that a deer can easily reach.  I have had much success with this type of wildlife management and have taken some nice bucks as a result as quick as the following hunting season, provided you cut at the correct time of year and the frost doesn't get to the new growth before it can generate.  I usually don't share this tactic with my friends or partners in my area and they wonder why I score every year.  Maybe some day I will tell them that this natural "baiting" and cover tactic has provided me with more venison in my freezer than I could have ever imagined.  I love to still hunt these areas and move from one "hinge cut" area to another on our property.   90% of the time I catch one bedding or kick one up directly under one of my hinge cuts or close to it during the day.  For all intensive purposes I only hinge cut a few 2-3 acre spots accordingly every year.  Be smart about where you do this and know your deer on your property as you can negatively affect their patterns as well.  Here are a couple of pics I dug up on the net about the concept.  Sorry if they don't give enough info as they are not my pictures personally and I'm afraid I don't take pictures of my cutting, but maybe they will give you the general idea.  I make different cuts than the ones shown as well!  [:)]Good luck!


"I enjoy and become completely immersed in the challenge and the increased opportunity to become for a time a part of nature. Deer hunting is a classical exercise in freedom. It�s a return to fundamentals that I distinctly feel are basic and right"-F.B.

User avatar
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:02 am

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby Thayer » Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:47 am

I cut whatever tree is there as the deer are looking for new growth, whatever kind of growth, at their level of browse.  I have planted food plots and have had the deer walk right past them to get to the new growth from a hinged cut tree.

The extra cut that was described is a good thing...never done it, but I believe it would help the tree to produce longer.

User avatar
Posts: 2110
Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:12 pm
Location: Kansas and Missouri

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby ranwin33 » Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:11 am

The extra cut can also help with getting the tree down and not causing you to have to cut through the tree to far.  The more uncut wood you have the better the chance for survival and making the vertical cut saves wood.
“There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.”
Aldo Leopold

Posts: 2377
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:59 am

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby msbadger » Sun Mar 29, 2009 2:19 am

Sorry kribbz I don't have hing cut pics...but I do cut trees around stand sites at about 4ft in the spring (now) so that I have shooting lanes.... but also  when deer come in they are eating head high maple leaves and not looking up to eat...area also looks less disturbed here are a couple of pics from last years cuts...
="http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn200/madbadger/IMG_0294.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
="http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn200/madbadger/IMG_0295.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

User avatar
Posts: 318
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:39 am

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby kribbz » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:41 am

Thanks for the pics.  

impeach O
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:40 pm

RE: Hinge Cutting

Postby impeach O » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:36 pm

I do a lot of hinge cutting mostly april-august mostly on maple and mostly on trees smaller than 6 inches. I will judge the lean of the tree what way will it naturally fall and make a cut from the opposite side of the way it will fall, I cut just far enough through for it to fall, I also have a piece of 10 foot half inch rerod with a hook in one end and a handle in the other, I hook them and direct where they fall to create living brush piles, the piles create a food source and cover, I make my cut at shoulder height (with extreme caution this is not a height to cut if you are not familiar with a chainsaw!) so there is room under the trees for bedding. malpe works best I have also done cherry. popple does not work. the trees will continue to live and give years of browse, in a couple of years there will be suckers growing up toward the light I go back in and bend them over to break them not off just over to add to the browse or tie them over to fill in the brush pile. it also lets in light for forbs. I will do this on the edges of a food plot to let in light and to feather the edge of the plot to create a feeling of safety-cover for the deer while they are in the plot.
my greatest fear in life is when I die my wife will sell my hunting equipment for what she thinks I spent


Return to Natural Habitat Enhancements

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests