Hinge Cutting Debate | Do Deer Benefit From Hinge Cuts

Hinge cutting can create both food and cover on a property that is lacking in those categories. This video proves the use of hinge cutting as both food and cover for deer can be effective.

This video was filmed during a segment of the previously posted Hinge Cutting | Emergency Deer Cover and Food in the Winter. This section of hinge cut trees was made on a southern slope in Indiana in Early February. After cutting a trail camera was put up on video mode over the hinge cut and it revealed some astonishing activity.

Hinge cutting has moved up in the ranks of popular talk among deer hunters and habitat managers. There is everything from “experts”, believers, and fans, to skeptics, doubters, and critics. Most of the arguments for or against hinge cutting and heat that goes along with it stems from the location of where it fits with TSI. Some say it is a better addition to some practices of TSI, others disagree to its purpose and explain it’s a teaching that has gotten out of hand in popularity and use. What side of the fence are you on?

The Purposes of Hinge Cutting

Hinge cutting is much more than simply cutting down, or cutting a tree. It has numerous purposes and ideals that, in the last 5 years, have been tested, claimed, and taught. Hinge cutting can be used as a tool for all of the following.

·         Edge Feathering

·         Screening

·         Cover

·         Food

·         Funneling

·         Protection/Recruitment of Saplings

Edge feathering, screening cuts, and funneling are all no doubt uses for hinge cutting, and have a general agreement to be among all. The use hinge cutting as a tool for cover and food however is the main point of arguments between skeptics and believers, and critics and experts.  The argument and growing concern over hinge cutting as a popular tool among deer and habitat managers is that cutting the tree down completely, and releasing the normal canopy, sunlight,  and space for new trees would be better off by killing that tree and also releasing the nutrients and general area to new growth. These opinions also include removing the tree, and leaving the area subject to new early successional growth or planting new higher value trees such as oaks would be more beneficial. Pro hinge cutting arguments challenge with stating the structure and growth of the hinge itself gives cover and food in terms of the top buds, and new shoots from the hinge. The structure and top also protect sapling recruitment, where saplings such as oaks, being preferred browse, would otherwise be over browsed (in high density areas). Both sides have ground to stand on…

So what is your opinion on the subject?

Which would make a better addition or game plan for a sanctuary?

Which would make for a better bedding area long term?

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