Deer Browse on Hinge Cut Trees in Winter Like It’s Candy

deer browse on hinge cut trees in winter

Jake and I were lot doing some chain saw work a few days ago and Jake came up with the idea of documenting how important woody browse is to deer in winter.

We dropped a good sized maple tree all alone about 100 yards from where we were doing the rest of the hinge cutting.

The top had hundreds of buds, now brought down to the ground. Jake said “Jim you ought to put a trail camera up here.” The rest is history.

It is simply unbelievable how attractive these buds are to deer. The first deer showed up 1.5 hours after I set the camera. I came back 5 days later to find I had chased off a deer, and that they had been feeding on it constantly throughout the previous 5 days.

These deer are not starving. They are fat and healthy. But putting a maple top down is like driving an ice cream truck into a park full of kids.

It is unbelievable how much they love fresh buds.

Below is a video showing what we did and all the deer activity that followed.

We would love to read your comments which you can post under this video, and go ahead and share it with your hunting buddies.


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Leave A Reply (8 comments so far)

  1. david dilley
    422 days ago

    Very interesting. The hinge cut keeps the tree alive and it provides cover and food.

  2. Brian Sanders
    423 days ago

    Great video very informative looking forward to more


  3. Tim Johnson
    423 days ago

    Great video of how deer need the stem nutrition during the long winter months. Would cutting the maples up for firewood after the deer have totally browsed them be defeating the purpose of building thick habitat, or would the new growth that will grow in these areas now provide ample cover? Keep making more videos!!

    • Randy Vander Veen
      423 days ago

      Glad you like the video. We will keep making more.
      You can cut up your trees for firewood while leaving the tops for deer to browse. Just by cutting trees down alone will remove the high overhead canopy which is preventing sunlight from reaching the forest floor during the growing season. Allowing sunlight in will spur new growth of many types of natural seeds and forbs which are waiting to germinate and sprout resulting in a thicker more dense woods which in turn creates even more deer browse and cover which deer prefer over a wide open woods with no browse.
      Since you can only cut up a set number of trees for firewood, I would suggest hinge cutting the other trees you take down to provide horizontal cover for bedding, screening, or steering of deer where you want them to go.
      The hinged trees will create new shoots from the horizontal trucks creating even more thick cover.
      Your deer will love you for it.

  4. Leonard Wolgamott
    423 days ago

    My property here in Georgia has a lot of sweetgum trees & water oaks. Do you think the deer here will eat on them the same way they will on the maple trees? Will the trees that are hinge cut for this purpose survive both the cutting and the removal of all of the buds be able to survive?

    • Randy Vander Veen
      423 days ago

      Being from MI, I’m not familiar with sweetgum, but I’m sure they will like the water oaks. Each species of tree has its own level of attraction to deer. Here’s a site that lists different species of trees and their level of attractiveness to deer.,4570,7-153-10370_12148-61306–,00.html
      Trees will absolutely survive hinge cutting and browsing if you hinge cut them the right way. There is a lot of false teaching online and in magazines. If you have never hinge cut trees before, please check out our YouTube channel at this link:
      for a couple videos on how to do it correctly. Think safety first.

  5. curt
    424 days ago

    I found the video on hinge cutting very helpful too. I would like to learn more on food plots.

    • Randy Vander Veen
      423 days ago

      We’ll be uploading a lot of videos about creating small ambush food plots in the coming months.
      If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you’ll automatically get them as soon as they’re uploaded.

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