Hinge cut height for bedding?

pointer

5 year old buck +
I have an area on top of a ridge that I plan on hinging to make it more attractive as a bedding area. The trees that'll be getting cut are smaller (<4" DBH) and mostly either sugar maple or beech. Some google foo' indicates some folks like about 3-4' for the hinge cut when it's for bedding. What height do you like to hinge at and why?
 
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MoBuckChaser

Guest
Most of my hinge cutting is between 3'-4' off the ground. It is the best height for me to control the saw. But I do make some higher and some lower depending what we are attempting to accomplish.
 

Bill

Administrator
I always cut 4 feet or higher. The deer need to be able to walk under them or its a blockade. 3 feet may be too low.

I've never tried to hinge a beech so this is sheer speculation. Beech is hard, I would test a small one to make sure it hinges and doesn't snap. Snapping trees are killers especially if you're using a hinge bar.

Even with small trees: hard hat, eye protection and chainsaw chaps.
 

Someday isle

5 year old buck +
I've recently asked a similar question and Bill and MOBuckChaser seem to be very knowledgeable in this area. If you look at some of the videos they've done on other threads you can actually see a sampling of their hinge cuts in some of them. I'm planning on trusting their advice and will be hinging from 4 feet to my chest height in my first experimented area this winter.

I'm handy with tools of all sorts but honestly am not too experienced with a chainsaw beyond cuttting firewood. I too will be hinging lots of 4" plus or minus trees. For most of those I plan on using a silky zubat handsaw rather than a chain saw. I still have to be careful of the trees but removing a chainsaw from the equation unless necessary and without skilled assistance is probably a good decision. If a certain tree or situation is even a little sketchy I plan on leaving that one alone. I think those of us new to hinge cutting need to proceed cautiously until we've experienced just how a tree, and the trees around it, will act when it's hinged and starts to fall. Take that for what it's worth from a newbie!
 
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Bowsnbucks

5 year old buck +
Safety first. ^^^ Healthy and in one piece = more fun afield.

Thanks Mo and Bill for the info on hinging.
 

Jayber

5 year old buck +
I primarily do around 5', some a little higher if I'm felling on top of others already down.
 

pointer

5 year old buck +
Thanks for the info/suggestions! The main trees I'm interested in cutting would be done with hand tools as they are mostly quite small.

What is the best time of year to do this work?
 

NWWI

5 year old buck +
One thing I like to accomplish for bedding is to hinge a good sized tree and try and set it on the 4" and smaller trees. With taking one or two trees like this it can fold over the smaller trees, open the canopies to get the smaller trees to sprout and with fewer cut trees you can make a nice visual screen. From my experience the deer like the cover but still want an easy escape route. That's ideally what I have found works for me.
 

j-bird

Moderator
My personal experience with hard maple and beech is that they suck for hinging. They simply prefer to snap - now I did this in the winter time so that may impact that, but they either snap or there isn't enough left connected for the top to survive. I prefer to cut a large tree first and then hinge the smaller ones on top of it. I can see where dropping a bigger one on smaller ones may help with the snapping issue as well - I just have not tried it......on purpose. I hinge right at chest height - which is about 4 feet or so on me. Hopefully you have better luck than I have had hinging those species. In the areas where I "hinged" these trees the tops still provided screening cover and the now available sunlight caused an explosion of additional growth which made it even better. Also keep in mind beech provide some mast and make great stand trees as they hold their leaves well into the fall for hiding a hunter. I need to get the chainsaw ready myself.....
 
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MoBuckChaser

Guest
The deer are going over or under your hinging no matter what you do. Because the other end of the tree is on the ground, unless you are staggering your trees to land on each other building a bedding area underneath. And that takes some skill! Then 4-5' is good for deer, tough on us old men to crawl in there to clean them up if need be. I have been doing this a long time, and the deer ALWAYS find a way through after a year or two no matter how you hinge your trees. You can bet your ass on that boys!
 
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MoBuckChaser

Guest
I think hinge cutting height is not as important as what trees you are hinge cutting. Maybe guys should be talking about which trees give them the best/worst results. You can cut all you want for not if the tree you picked has a zero survival rate........just sayin!
 

j-bird

Moderator
Keep in mind the size of the tree matters as well. I have cut some large boxelder and they just snap - the medium and smaller ones will hinge just fine. I have also found that trees that have stringy wood seem to hinge well. Like Stu mentioned Hackberry, Elms, soft maples all hinge well. I have some luck with some hickory as well. Trees that have a high moisture content will stump sprout like crazy as well, willows, sycamore, cottonwood, boxelder, soft maples, and those sort you can leave a tall stump and turn into a shrub if so desired. Sometimes just cutting the entire tree down is the best thing you can do as well - just getting sunlight in there will cause an explosion of cover.

Having a means to help to get the tree to topple will help as well. If you just try to do it with a saw - you have to work with the natural lean of the tree which seems to never be where you want it and you tend to cut more than you really want. Anything in the area of about 18" DBH or bigger that needs to go I just plain cut down, remove the log for firewood if desired and leave the top or move it if desired. Those tend to provide a nice support to drop the smaller hinged trees on to.
 
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MoBuckChaser

Guest
I like Stu's list. Will add Shingle Oaks as one of my favorite trees to hinge. Great stump growth, and they stay growing sideways forever.
 

Satchmo

5 year old buck +
Add black ash to the list of those that hinge and survive pretty well for me.
 

chummer

5 year old buck +
I have hinged a ton of beeche. I have a better survival rate if I hinge before they leaf out. Even if the top dies the trunk stays alive and puts out shoots. I like to hinge at 4-5' and then take any saplings within reach and bend them under the hinged trunk. My hope is these trees will grow horizontal, I don't see any reason why they won't. Maple and birch are the other trees I hinge and they do fine if I hinge before or after leaf out.
 

TMIL

5 year old buck +
I like Stu's list. Will add Shingle Oaks as one of my favorite trees to hinge. Great stump growth, and they stay growing sideways forever.

Shingle Oaks are my favorite. They hold their leaves all dang winter! I've got some natural regen old fields, lots of shingle oaks and cedars. That combo makes some truly magnificent deer habitat.
 

bwoods11

5 year old buck +
Shingle Oaks are my favorite. They hold their leaves all dang winter! I've got some natural regen old fields, lots of shingle oaks and cedars. That combo makes some truly magnificent deer habitat.

Love that tree...shingle oaks, cedars,.... Best bedding combo I've ever seen.

Shingle oaks do keep leaves forever!image.jpeg
 

Bill

Administrator
I know nobody wants to cut them down. But a 4 inch white oak cut and pulled will survive for a while. If they don't their children will overwelm you.

I know its just me. I can't throw a stone without hitting a white oak. Their my favorite tree until October when i want the deer in my plots.

I've had good luck with all hickory. Again small diameter. Pull them over and the deer just crush next years buds.
 

Someday isle

5 year old buck +
Thanks for saying that Bill. My woods are full of oaks and hickory. When one reads so much about saving and protecting the oaks it can kind of make you feel guilty for having them everywhere. Here in my part of Missouri it's mostly oak forest. I'm sure I'll be hinging quite a few red and white oaks along with hickory.
 

pointer

5 year old buck +
Guys thanks for taking this in the direction of which species to hinge! Very helpful! I'll try to take my winter tree ID book with me so I have an idea of what I'm cutting. It does sound like its not really hard to mess this up. I'm thinking (hoping) that most of these wont take more than a few swipes with an axe and a push to bend them over.
 
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