I first met Jim five years ago when he asked me to look at his property. A landscape developer, Jim wanted to know how he could apply his trade toward shooting bigger, more mature, deer.
The first thing I noticed about Jim’s property was the makings of a good funnel. Imagine his land as hourglass shaped. Jim needed to make the narrow mid-section a little tighter, thereby concentrating deer around two or three stands, rather than five or six.
To do this I told Jim about a hinge cut, whereby a tree is cut ¾ of the way then pushed over. The tree stays alive through that living hinge and the canopy continues to grow year after year along the ground. These cuts act as living barriers and also provide food in the leaves and buds that are now near the ground.
Jim is something of a timber purist and thought heresy of this technique. He called it “cringe” cutting instead of “hinge.” Then one fall he came out to our deer lab in western New York and I showed him how it worked. He was converted and soon saw proof in the bucks he killed. This deer, what were calling the Cringe Buck in his honor, is just one of the many good deer he’s taken in the last five years.