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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
dbltree, The big problem is a lot of people just don't cut aggressive enough because they feel if it gets too thick a deer won't use it. Deer are no different than big rabbitts. I have noticed over 15 rubs in an area of about 50yd x 75yd bedding area that is a complete mess , i have noticed the bucks are extremely attracted to rubbing cherry tree regrowth from the stumps. I think planting fruit or oak trees is an excellant idea inside the hinge cut area where a majority of the tree tops fall. Sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I agree...I've jumped deer from places I swear a rabbit couldn't go!:SHOCKED:

Sitting in a tree stand overlooking a hinged "mess" will also reveal the kind of cover they love to "hide" in.

I added a slew of pics this morning covering hand planting of oaks, trail blocking, angle of saw cuts and a host of other thoughts an ideas so check back now and then...:)

Hinging trees for bedding, browse & bottlenecks

If anyone has pictures of your own hinging projects I would urge you to contribute so that others can learn more about this great habitat improvement tool...;)

If you don't know how to post please feel free to email me at [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
if I have rabbitts I have deer
This following I promise you will attract both...;)

We have threads on NWSG for bedding and threads on hinging for bedding but I feel some of the best bedding areas can be created by planting a mix of shrubs and conifers.

Keeping in mind that habitat should be diverse and it should never be an "all or nothing" scenario, so that means landowners should utilize a combination of NWSG in open field areas, hinging in woodlots and then convert some areas to lower, denser cover with a mix of 6-12' high shrubs and conifers.

By now, most of you know that I have a deep passion for wildlife habitat and have been aggressively planting anything and everything for more then 50 years now. That being said, I think I have planted nearly every imaginable invasive from multiflora rose to autumn olives to honeysuckle, all of it long before any of it was considered invasive.

At the time the USDA and State DNR all promoted them and I was eager to plant them, so while I share pictures of atumn olive hedge rows planted 15 years ago it does NOT mean I am promoting them nor any invasive.

I am however promoting the idea of brushy cover that whitetails love to bed in and then encourage you to choose from native plants to fill that need.

These are autumn olive that are part of a shelterbelt planting that provides protective screening from road poachers but also it is wide enough and thick enough that deer love to bed in it!





In my area I have found red cedars work the best as a conifer that provides thermal cover and dense protective screening



and the combination is unbeatable and deer will usually choose this type of cover over hinge cuts



Red cedars should be open enough to allow some grass to grow in between and almost all will have beds up against them





I would encourage landowners to look at all the native possibles in my thread on Tree Planting for shrubs that are non-invasive that would work on their own property

All about tree planting



and choose dense conifers such as spruce or cedar to mix with the shrubs



In my case deer have destroyed nearly 5000 norway spruce and white pines planted in the original planting (from rubbing) and I was forced to re-plant with red cedars. Not all landowners will be faced with that kind of problem however.

Shrubs are generally fast growing and can often provide cover within 3-4 years and conifers only a year or two behind them. Rows can be alternated or mixed and scattered or even hand planted in rough areas.
Odd areas of a farm where hillsides may not allow farming, old pastures or other unused areas are often great places to convert to shrub/conifer plantings.

Low areas can be planted to willows or dogwoods that provide both cover and browse.

Well thought out plantings can become travel corridors leading to feeding areas and perhaps surrounded as mine are by NWSG. Deer have well worn trails following my shrub plantings, screened on one side by shrubs while walking in the NWSG itself in complete safety.

While NWSG plantings are very attractive too mature whitetil bucks I find that deer in general prefer my shrub/conifer plantings.

If you have a favorite native shrub or pictures of your own plantings, please share to offer others ideas that may help them enhance their habitat as well...

 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
A fellow QDM'er has started a new business selling seedlings from cuttings along with some great supplies like the Rootmaker products and a really cool auger that one can use on a drill motor for planting seedlings.

Check it out!

Big Rock Trees

If you have questions it's nice to have someone who really understands both tree planting and whitetails to help you figure it out...:cool:
 

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I agree with the theme of this thread--improve natural habitat. Along that line--I am having 3-4 small areas of poplar clear cut in a "checkerboard" pattern. They will be 1-3 acres each. Since it will take 2-4 years for the re-growth of poplar to establish cover, any ideas of seed that I can plant while waiting for the re-growth to take over.
The cutting will be done with the new Ruffed Grouse Society machine so there will be plenty of mulch.
 

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If anyone has pictures of your own hinging projects I would urge you to contribute so that others can learn more about this great habitat improvement tool...;)

If you don't know how to post please feel free to email me at [email protected]


My property was formerly a brace beagle club. Unfortunately with no check on the redtail hawks, they had trouble stocking rabbits. Fortunately when the membership was younger and had more energy, they planted lots of cover. Autumn olive, Amur honeysuckle, spruces, white pines, red osier dogwood, highbush cranberry, crabapples, elderberry...you name it.

I'm going to post two posts so I can post a few more pictures.

The former club left me some good things and some challenging situations.

Good here is some nice thick shrubs:




At the far end of this field is some good screening from a stand of spruces:




Here some not so good screening where it was more important to run their dogs through. Spruce pruned by saw: :sad:






This picture is actually kind of humorous. I know I should do something with it, I just don't know what it is yet.:

 

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And now to the point relative to this thread. I got busy with the chainsaw this week. I'm going to leave up some of the white pines in groups, but cut the red pines. I'm looking to particularly let some sunshine through.

A lot of the 25 to 45 year old pines are showing their age and devoid of lower branches and shading out the potential shrubs below them. There are lots of sprouts of ash on the floor in the last picture.

This is looking into the center of scattered red pines, dead ash and half dead elms. This is looking Southwest.



Here looking south I am providing some lateral screening. The road is to the left and the fencerows have a dense canopy of oaks and hickory along the road blocking the morning light from the east. Here I laid down two red pines



Looking east trying to thicken up the view



Two large red pines down looking east provide a good screen for the road. This fence is not a border fence





I don't know if red pines can live a bit if hinge cut. The cut is nearly through.







I'm going to chop these up to allow a little movement along lanes










A few half or fully dead elms are mixed in. They might provide morel habitat.




Lots of ash sprouts.







I had a really enjoyable week with the chainsaw. I got about 1/4 of the project done. The ground needs a bit more light than I have given it so far. I'm going to take it slow, as its like a crossword or jigsaw puzzle trying to cut these trees and not have them hang up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Thanks for sharing the great pics! Not much cover under the big pines...I have some that are 80 years old now and the turkeys sure do love to roost in them!;)

I cut loose with a "chainsaw massacre" of my own Saturday! :D







I can post unlimited pics on OO so I'll add more to the thread there and add a few here from time to time.

Hinging for bedding, browse and bottlenecks

Great time to be to be out with a little snow on the ground to check travel patterns and movement and then "encourage" them in the right directions with some hinge cutting...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
This is a great time of year to just get out, do some walking and observe whitetail habitat, especially where they bed. I learn a lot while shed hunting and in my area beds are commonly found up against red cedars, probably more then any other type of tree.



Certainly other conifers can serve the same purpose but red cedars grow wild here in Iowa and so they happen to be plentiful and a natural source of cover and bedding.



Notice that these spots are semi-open with some grassy, light brushy cover but not a solid mass of cedars.



This is a wild stand that is too thick and could use some thinning.


The intent here is not to encourage you to focus on cedars themselves but whatever conifers that are adapatable to your area with cedars and spruces generally more suitable long term then pines.

One advantage red cedars have is that they don't turn into a towering 100 ft tree such as some pines and even norway spruce given enough time. In all cases keep the conifers open enough by thinning to encourage limb growth near the ground rather then a completely open understory as often happens in wild areas where they have grow to thick.

Plantings allows us some control and wild patchs of cedars can be thinned and improved to encourage whitetail bedding for years to come...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
One thing that really helps is using the hinge cuts to release any oaks and doing so will really encourage mast production.

hard to make out in this pic but I released a sizable black oak here:



I choose white oaks over the red species when I have to choose and red over black but work with what I have and hand plant oak seedlings where I have no oaks at all.

It's pretty hard to beat having safe, secure, thick and nasty bedding and browse and plentiful mast production all in one neat package!

From a whitetails standpoint...what's not to like?? ;) :p
 

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One thing that really helps is using the hinge cuts to release any oaks and doing so will really encourage mast production.

hard to make out in this pic but I released a sizable black oak here:


Doubletree, do you l



I choose white oaks over the red species when I have to choose and red over black but work with what I have and hand plant oak seedlings where I have no oaks at all.

It's pretty hard to beat having safe, secure, thick and nasty bedding and browse and plentiful mast production all in one neat package!

From a whitetails standpoint...what's not to like?? ;) :p


Do you leave a 20ft diameter around good oaks when select cutting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Do you leave a 20ft diameter around good oaks when select cutting?
The main thing is to cull away any competing canopy so some times it could easily be more the 20 ft.

When hinge cutting I usually tip over any trees that are not useful mast producing trees so in those cases the are could be huge.

Every landowner has different tree species and situations not to mention differing goals so one can vary your plan to suit your needs.

Understanding Timber Stand Improvment is a critical part of this and should be the first step before attempting a hinging project.

Click on either link below to reach my TSI threads to better understand proper TSI and help you answer your questions on that subject...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Some of you may be wondering which trees to hinge and there is no one single answer for every landowner. I put together a list of trees and pictures to help identify them by bark and twig/buds to help people make choices without worrying about cutting good mast trees. (Check the TSI thread for oak pics)

Check the second page of this thread to see a long list of trees I consider cull trees and canidates for hinging.

Hinging for bedding, browse and bottlenecks

Bitternut hickory is one that I commonly hinge as I do all hickories



Maples are another such as this Silver Maple



Check out the pics and links before you get too carried away with the chainsaw...;)
 

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I mostly have the lowly red oak on my property - but they throw a few handfulls of acorns every year.



I "released" a nice one last summer that had big cherries surrounding it...I'm talking about wild cherry trees that grow at least 120' high,...giant cherries grow like weeds and brush choking he be-gezus out of everything - Anyway - I find 2 more oaks while I am doing this. (WishI had some pics)

So I have a nice red oak, maybe 10 inches in diameter, spitting a few acorns and 3 feet from it - North of the nice one, another spindly little guy, maybe 4 inches in diameter, then 6 feet away (just a bit NorthEast another 6 or 7 inch diameter red oak - funky horizontal branches and kinda leaning out on a funky angle.

The spindly little guy is marked for destruction - he is just too close to the nice big straight producer...

But what about Mr. Funky? Is 6 ft away too close? He has been there - what - 30 years?.....Opinions?
 

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An observation on bitternut hickories....another perspective than Doubletree's: I nurture my bitternut but cut the shagbarks. I've found that bitternut nuts are heavily foraged by deer on my ground. In fact, one of my most productive tree stands is in a huge bitternut where guests and I have taken a dozen or more deer directly under the stand when they've come in seeking the nuts. Turkeys & red squirrels also frequently use this tree. I have never seen a fox squirrel go after these nuts.

The shagbarks, on the other hand, seem only useful to fox & red squirrels...probably several varieties of mice too.....but I've never seen whitetails utilize the nuts from a shagbark.

By the way, shagbarks are tough trees to kill or to hinge cut. The wood is very strong so only small trees can be bent over without bringing in the tractor to force it over. And to kill them by hackn'squirt is also tough. They seem more immune to my glyphosate h&s than any other tree on my property. It can be done but it may take a couple of applications. Will try Tordon this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Is 6 ft away too close?
The most difficult part of doing Timber stand Improvment is having to deal with situations like this where multiple oaks are growing to close.

It always comes down to a judgment call but the key here is "competing canopy"...where the trees are nearly equal in height and the canopies are competing for sunlight.

Here is a shingle oak on the left and a red (black) oak on the right where such is the case...



Multiple trees growing here of course but all will be killed to release the black oak.



In this case it's easy, because shingle oaks have very low timber value and I prefer to release the black oak. When there are multiple white or red oaks growing together one needs to look careful to decide which one is the inferior tree and either girdle it or hinge it but cull the tree either way.

Usually you will find that once oaks are turely release, where canopies are actually opened up around the drip line, that mast production will begin to increase.

You might enjoy reading my thread on TSI to learn more about this subject:

Timber Stand Improvment

We observe and select acorns from prolific trees and plant acorns or seedlings in the hinged tops to perpetuate those genetics.

I nurture my bitternut

This is why I say each landowner must decide which trees they wish to kill or leave standing, the Bitternut Hickory (Carya cordiformis) however has a very bitter fruit or "nut" that generally is considered inedible and unattractive to most wildlife....hence the name "bitternut".

Even squirrels rarely eat them because of their high tannin content, and extreme bitterness and astringency.

For those reasons I personally choose to kill them and in their place plant very sweet low tannin white oak varieties such as Dwarf Chinkapins for example.

I can only assume in your case that your tree is producing nuts that are sweeter then most because what you are seeing is somewhat unusal. It would be insane of course to kill a tree that is attracting whitetails so one does need to be observant to what is going on, on your own property...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
I agree with the theme of this thread--improve natural habitat. Along that line--I am having 3-4 small areas of poplar clear cut in a "checkerboard" pattern. They will be 1-3 acres each. Since it will take 2-4 years for the re-growth of poplar to establish cover, any ideas of seed that I can plant while waiting for the re-growth to take over.
The cutting will be done with the new Ruffed Grouse Society machine so there will be plenty of mulch.
I used to do some hunintg over in the Bruce Crossing/Paulding area where clear cuts were often done. Usually it didn't take long for the cut trees to erupt to life and make great grouse and whitetail habitat with nothing else being done.

Here in Iowa it's common to use something like German Millet broadcast onto the ground where sod grasses were killed with roundup and then a tree hinged into that spot.

Possibly something like that (millet) could be broadcast in bare spots in your situation but perhaps others can better comment on that...;)
 

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There are several train's of thought on creating individual beds for deer that include "tying" trees down to create over head cover, attempting to create "buck" and "doe" beds. The controversy often leads to arguments and name bashing which is completely counterproductive to helping others learn how to enhance their habitat.

That being said I base what I share on factual observations back up by pictures that allow landowners to see how deer react to various habitat enhancements such as hinge cutting. I find first of all that large, thick sanctuaries where deer are unmolested tend to hold the most deer and mature whitetail bucks seek out that type of environment.

I am able, very easily to create "overhead" cover without tying, just by hinging trees that often come to rest on adjacent trees such as this situation.



Suffice it to say that after years of hinging trees I have inadvertently created all types of "overhead' cover from 3-4' to 10-15' above the ground but thus far I have not found deer using those types of situations.

What I do find is that deer prefer a slight rise or a ridge where they can lay "behind" a hinge cut tree and see danger approach from below. When that hinged area either grows up to some light brush or has some already, the area will quickly
be covered with fresh beds.



The following pics are recent hinging projects, some only days old and while a little hard to see, all have beds located a few feet to 20 yards behind the hinged trees.



I have found no beds using overhead cover as of yet with the exception of live cedar trees or large shrubs where they often lay in front of or barely under an overhanging branch using the tree as a backdrop.




In the hinged areas though, they tend to be bedded out in the open preferring to peer under the hinged trees for some distance back.




Each landowner should be willing to try different things but the focus should be on creating large, thick, safe areas of cover versus attempting to create and individual bed.

Observe whitetails habits in your area, don't place all the chips on any one persons advice, take lots of great ideas, do some experimenting and then find out what really works and what doesn't....then share it with others to help them enhance their own whitetail habitat.... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
I helped a friend hinge some trees last week...

Mostly bitternut, shagbark hickory, elm and ironwood











There were sporadic red, burr and white oaks through out the area so hinging will not only encourage new browse but give seedling oaks a chance to survive in the now open canopy.

 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Planting oak seedlings in hinge cuts has generated a few questions so here's a couple pics...

Often the hinged trees create such a mess that traveling bucks are not likely to walk thru it "just for fun"...so the seedlings don't need to be planted directly under a top and can be slightly out in the open.



I rarely have problems with browsing of the seedlings but rather rubbing of the saplings by hormone charged bucks in the fall, so it is with that in mind that I plant seedlings.



You can just barely see the flags scattered thru out this hinge cut area



The hinge cutting creates plenty of new natural browse so deer are less likely to destroy new seedlings and if it is a problem in your area, tree tubes can be utilized to help protect them.

I planted swamp white oaks in this low area because they are not only well adapted but fast growing.





I have planted some directly in the downed tops but I have not "stumbled" around in the hinged mess to take pictures of them. In those cases it is possible one may need to use brush nippers and clip off any shading branches.

As of yet I have not needed too but different tree species react in different ways to being hinged...some may be brushier and hence more shading then others.

Marking the seedings with flags allows you to keep an eye on them and give them a helping hand if shading becomes a problem and allows for chemical weed control as needed...;)
 
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