Hinge cutting for bedding areas

Brandon

Yearling... With promise
What I am wondering when you build bedding areas out of hinge cuts how you go about it. I have read so many options on it. What I am wondering is if you hinge trees on top of trees so you have alot of the overhead cover or do you have better luck with making it a tornado zone with trees going every other directions. Also do you make these beds that you hear these guys make by cleaning out a area 5-6ft wide with a log as a back stop. I kinda see were it would have its benefits with the deer not getting poked by sticks but will they really use them. I could see in the tornado zone being a area were this may help. I am looking to build some more bedding and would like to see what's worked for other people. I am afraid with it being really thick that they may not use it do to predators in the areas. Thanks
 

Bill

Administrator
When I hinge for bedding theses days it's small areas. 1/4 acre or so. I kinda like threes laying on threes but you don't want to make brush piles. I don't go crazy overboard and hinge everything. I'm looking for cover not a tornado zone.
I don't rake beds (been there done that). I never try to make buck beds anymore. Never had one used that I'm aware of.

I like pockets open within the area. Like a 10 yard circle for a doe family to lay down.

The only other tip I have is make the cuts as high as you safely can. Sure deer can crawl under or jump over stuff but we've walked in the woods. It sure is easier doing it upright.

I went bad overboard on my first attempt and made my cuts to low and to many. I had to go back and cut the deer trails. Sure they would have eventually picked their way through it. But less resistance gets more use.

Check out Steves video.
 

Buckly

5 year old buck +
Here's what I've done. Pick a 1/4 to 1/2 acre area. Hinge cut all the way around the perimeter with a tornado zone and have 4 exits. Hinge several areas inside and to try and get the false ceiling effect by cutting a bigger tree down first and fall smaller ones on top. I like to leave some open areas as I feel if the deer are comfortable in there they prefer to bed in the open. If you have some evergreens in there leave them in the more open areas. The important things are exits, open areas and false ceilings. If I want a bigger area or another doe group I will create an open path 50 yards from one of the exits and then make another bedding area. They will improve with age but you need to go back in and make sure the exits are not blocked every year. I've made 12 of these areas on my 120 and the deer will use most of them. Every year I am going to go back into them to improve them if I can and I am shooting for 80% usage.
 

scott44

5 year old buck +
I drop a larger tree and land smaller one on it hinged at 4-5' after hinging the trees I'll go in and clean some of it up by cutting branches and making some ins and outs. I use the tornado zones for deer movement hinging at different heights.



 

Tap

5 year old buck +
Hooks. Use hooks. Hinge cutting will always be easier, more precise with a higher success rate if you use hooks. With a hook you can pull (or push) a tree down exactly where you need it. Even if it leans the wrong direction, you can lay it down with much less effort which allows for a safer and longer day of production. Trying to push over a tree that may lean slightly the wrong way or have contact with other tree tops, is exhausting, especially when the cuts are head-high or higher.
And if you suffer from vines like I do, it's practically impossible to get a tree down if it's top is "tied" to another tree top with vines without the aid of a hook.
But be very careful when pulling larger trees with a hook. I never try to pull a tree of the size that could hurt me. I'm usually pulling down trees in the 4" or less size. Anything larger should either be pushed, wedged, or let gravity take over.
Hooks allow less of the cambium to be cut which helps the tree to survive.
And I usually cut high. I'm only cutting low when I want to create screening or blockades.
 
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Brandon

Yearling... With promise
Thanks for the responses. I have made a couple of the canopy bedding areas and hear a some people on the web saying they want it thicker the better. So I knew I could get some real good advice on here with people that had resolves. Thanks again
 

alldaysit

5 year old buck +
I drop a larger tree and land smaller one on it hinged at 4-5' after hinging the trees I'll go in and clean some of it up by cutting branches and making some ins and outs. I use the tornado zones for deer movement hinging at different heights.




I made a bunch like this last year and they are not bedding under them. The locations they are bedding are next to big tree tops that hinged and provided vertical cover (wall) not horizontal (false ceiling). I didn't make any of those false ceilings with walls. I am going to go back in this winter and add them.


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Brandon

Yearling... With promise
I think this is why I will do both false ceiling and them lay trees down so the deer have the tree tops to lay next too. Thanks for the reply
 

Greta&Gus

5 year old buck +
I made a bunch like this last year and they are not bedding under them. The locations they are bedding are next to big tree tops that hinged and provided vertical cover (wall) not horizontal (false ceiling). I didn't make any of those false ceilings with walls. I am going to go back in this winter and add them.


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I also like having a wall on at least one side of the false ceiling.
 

Bluecollaroutdoors

5 year old buck +
I completely agree with the statements above. If you don't have some side cover you could still take a knee and see 50 yards under all the new fancy rooftop which isn't fully hiding the deer. I put 1 new big shooting lane into a 7 acre tag elder and marsh grass spot on my property this weekend. It really is cool to look at the beds in the snow and see why they are there. Most spots had overhead evergreens lower than 10 feet tall like a ceiling, slightly elevated, some kind of oddball branch that was tipped over to create cover or a downed tree for a backstop of sorts. They might not have all of those things but they all had 2 or more in spot they picked.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
I was up on my hunting land last weekend to do some hinge cutting, and check it out. I was overly impressed with all of the beds, but there were very few beds in my previously cut hinge area, almost all of the beds were under pine trees. Pretty much if you saw an area that had a couple pine trees with branches about 6 feet high, there were 2-4 beds under it. That didnt stop me from hinging more, because I wanted to thicken the area up, and I wanted to open the canopy on the south east side of my food plot, to allow more morning sun. SO I am not sure how effective hinge cutting is, at least on my land for bedding. I still see benefits to hinge cutting, even if they arent bedding in it. It makes things thicker at their level, and they physically have to walk around looking for does, rather then just glancing and being able to see a hundred yards. Side benefits, they spend more time on my land searching, and less time on the neighbors land getting shot.
 
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Bluecollaroutdoors

5 year old buck +
I noticed this weekend that a few small birch in a wet area that I hinged last years through up some suckers in the last year. This weekend we were cutting a shooting lane and I cut the same type of trees down to the stump.
Should these fire up in spring and create some regrowth as well?

I hinged a few last year for a shooting lane but this time my dad was along and most "shooting lanes" turn into 4 wheeler trails for firewood retrievable.
 

TMIL

5 year old buck +
I was up on my hunting land last weekend to do some hinge cutting, and check it out. I was overly impressed with all of the beds, but there were very few beds in my previously cut hinge area, almost all of the beds were under pine trees. Pretty much if you saw an area that had a couple pine trees with branches about 6 feet high, there were 2-4 beds under it. That didnt stop me from hinging more, because I wanted to thicken the area up, and I wanted to open the canopy on the south east side of my food plot, to allow more morning sun. SO I am not sure how effective hinge cutting is, at least on my land for bedding. I still see benefits to hinge cutting, even if they arent bedding in it. It makes things thicker at their level, and they physically have to walk around looking for does, rather then just glancing and being able to see a hundred yards. Side benefits, they spend more time on my land searching, and less time on the neighbors land getting shot.

Perhaps they are bedding in your hinge cuts earlier in the year? And they prefer pines in winter? Just a thought.
 

Bluecollaroutdoors

5 year old buck +
Perhaps they are bedding in your hinge cuts earlier in the year? And they prefer pines in winter? Just a thought.

I thougut this before but did not get a chance to reply. I can say with 100 percent certainty that deer at my place will be under hemlock right now that they would never bed under in season. Its easy right now and the chance of getting blown out of that spot is 90 percent less right now. They creep the bedding out closer to food in winter in my opinion.
 

Weezy

5 year old buck +
If your hinge breaks when laying it over do you leave it to stump sprout high or do you recut low for browse?
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
If it breaks and falls on the ground, I will then cut the stump off about 2 feet. If it is still laying on the stump, but the hinge cracked, I let it stay on there. It will still sprout just a little higher. The sprouts will still make good cover, and the deer will still be able to reach most of it.


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sandbur

5 year old buck +
Doa search for some of Steve Bartylla's posts or order his book.
 

4wanderingeyes

5 year old buck +
Perhaps they are bedding in your hinge cuts earlier in the year? And they prefer pines in winter? Just a thought.

I guess it is possible. Mostly the reason I was surprised by all the beds is because I havent had much for deer pictures since Christmas in my food plots. If they are bedding in the pines, where would they be feeding other then my food plots that is under about 8 inches of crust snow. I guess it would make sense they are eating the hinged areas, and also my freshly planted pines from last spring. They have never wintered on my land before. Usually they would be gone come winter, and other then a couple random tracks, I wouldnt see much for deer. I guess my work is working.
 
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j-bird

Moderator
If your hinge breaks when laying it over do you leave it to stump sprout high or do you recut low for browse?
It depends on the size. If I can manage it. I will cut a "V" in the top of the stump and them lift the fallen portion up into it. Getting that off the ground will help it last longer as I will then tend to use it to support the other smaller hinges. The remaining stump will tend to sprout and create more cover as well. If its too big for that you can get a shorted stump to essentially turn it into a shrub or simply leave it be and it will tend to sprout anyways.

Thus far my hinging has shown me that location is very important. Hinging in areas where deer naturally want to bed really helps. Elevated areas where the deer can have a view in one or more directions while backed up against some sort of cover really seems to be the ticket in my area. I also like to leave small trees that hold their leaves or conifers in the mix as well. This helps with the sense of security at ground level. Most of the natural deer beds I find don't have that false ceiling so I don't think it's as important - just my 2 cents worth.
 

ALwoodsman

A good 3 year old buck
If you have wide open woods can you hinge cut 1/4 acre or so and have deer bed in it or do you need a larger area of thick cover?
 
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