In the whitetail / habitat world when you ask someone what are three benefits of hinge cutting you could get a wide variety of answers. A lot of them might be the same from person to person and a lot of them could differ. For me its simple and I’m going to explain why.
- This has always been my top priority, to create cover and security. Looking at the 1 acre farm, I had no cover and in my opinion in order to get a crack at a good buck in a state like Michigan you have to be able to house does and and force the bucks to seek them out in the daylight hours during the rut phases. My philosophy is this, if I can make them feel safe by providing them a place to live, the bucks will be there eventually.
2. Create Food
- This one’s a two pronged effect – while I’m hinge cutting, to make security it also provides a good food source. A whitetails diet consists of a variety of food groups but the one that makes up the most is woody brows. Woody brows, which consist mostly of twigs, leaves and new buds – make up to roughly 80% of a whitetails diet especially during the winter months. So before hinge cutting, that food stands 30+ feet in the air and doesn’t do anything for the deer. Once you open the canopy it allows good sunlight to hit the forest floor where it might not have been before and that creates new regeneration in the form of forbes and grasses.
3. Manipulating deer movement
- Lastly I use hinge cutting to funnel or pinch deer down in front of stand locations. If you can control an area and not make the deer just randomly show up anywhere this is a great way to make them move through a certain spot. I like to shape little openings that neck down to a tight spot right next to a stand. The benefits can be endless, closer shot opportunities, not being surprised by a deer showing up where you don’t want them and if you’re self filming like I often do, then it makes it whole lot easier to film.