Forest and woodlot owners look for ways to enhance their forests and woodlots for wildlife
It is mid October and here in Michigan many residents have deer hunting on their minds. Bow season is currently in full swing and rifle season opens up in less then a month! Many residents that are forest and woodlot owners and hunt their own land, look for ways to benefit and enhance wildlife on their properties. "Hinge Cutting", a type of wildlife habitat management technique, has become popular here in Michigan.
The method of "Hinge Cutting"
"Hinge Cutting" is a method to cut down a tree using only a back cut that does not fully sever the trees trunk from the stump, leaving the fallen tree connected to the stump by a "hinge" of bark. The intent is to keep the fallen tree alive for a while to provide deer with browse for food, bedding habitat, and to direct their traffic flow in the woods. However, many wildlife biologist and foresters have questioned this practice. Hinge cutting has not been researched in controlled scientific studies and there is no scientific data to support it. Although this method may provide some shelter and some temporary browse for food, property-owners have several forest and woodlot management options available to them that would provide a substantially greater and longer lasting results for the wildlife habitat as well as, the health, safety and aesthetics of the forest or woodlot.
The Dangers of "Hinge Cutting"
Cutting down a tree with a chainsaw is essentially a dangerous activity and landowners using a chainsaw in their woods should do everything possible to maximize their safety. Know how to run your saw (get special safety training if need be), always wear protective gear (hardhat, chaps, eye protection, boots, etc.). Always use proper technique to feel a tree (of any size). This is the strongest argument against hinge cutting.......
Hinge cutting greatly increases the risk to the chainsaw operator and others in the area, as it violates the basic rules for safely feeling a tree!
Alternatives To Hinge Cutting
There are several alternatives to hinge cutting that will greatly benefit the wildlife on your property as well as enhance you woodlot. Professional timber management practices benefit your forests and woodlots in ways that are far outlasting, greatly more productive and can be quit financially gainful. A timber harvest will provide food and cover for a longer period and over a greater area. You will have professionals doing the work thus eliminating your personal risk. Hinge cutting leaves unsightly areas and dangerous areas, this is eliminated with professional timber management. All around, a good proper timber management of your standing timber far out trumps hinge cutting when it comes to enhanced wildlife management.
David & Valerie Zimmer
Buyers of standing timber and owners of Greater Michigan Timber Management, a Forest and Timber Management company located in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan.
Call us for all your forest management needs at
(989) 390-0705 or
We are happy to answer any question you may have.
Greater Michigan Timber Management. Buyers of standing timber. Specializing in sustainable forestry management and sound stewardship practices.
Greater Michigan Timber Management: The timber management company that cares!