The chainsaw. One of man’s best friends and one bad piece of machinery. Bad in the bad### kind of way. But more importantly, a chainsaw can be the catalyst for some of the most effective and affordable habitat management projects you can undertake this spring. With a chainsaw you can improve both bedding cover and food sources – sometimes at the same time! So with that being said, what are you waiting for? Now is the time, before the full spring green up, to grab your saw and get to work. So here are three projects you can undertake right now, to help improve your hunting this fall!
Let There Be Light – Opening The Sky To Your Mast Producing Trees: Mother Nature is a wonderful thing, and as great as food plots are for whitetail nutrition, they are not all deer depend on for sustenance. Trees and plants across your property produce literal tons of forage every spring and summer – but this production can sometimes be limited by competition in the form of other trees. Project #1 for you this spring with your chainsaw is to open up the canopy around your major soft mast producing trees. These being trees like oaks, persimmons or apple. These trees can produce a tremendous amount of very attractive food – but if they can’t get the necessary sunlight, they can’t produce the optimal amount of mast. Identify non-mast producing trees around these more “valuable” mast producers and introduce them to your “little friend”, aka chainsaw.
Create A “Browse Cut”: Opening the sky to sunlight really is the key to most projects done with a chainsaw, and that certainly applies to creating browse cuts. Essentially when I say “browse cut”, I mean clear cut – but in a more positive light. Identify an area in your timber where you would like to improve bedding cover and then fire up the ole saw. Go ahead and start cutting – don’t be shy. When it comes to “browse cuts”, it really is the more the merrier. Open up a large area to the sun, and leave all the tree tops and other woodland debris scattered about the area. At first this might look messy – or unnatural. But give mother nature a little time and she’ll do her magic. Before long this area will spring up with a plethora of natural vegetation, creating incredible bedding cover AND great natural forage. Before you know it, that old open timber stand will have become an absolute whitetail hotspot.
Try Some Hinge Cuts: As I mentioned in a post a year or so ago, “hinge cutting is the act of cutting a small tree part way, so that you can bend it over to the ground while still keeping the tree alive.” By doing this you create more “deer level cover” via the now grounded tree top and you provide instant browse. By strategicially hinge cutting trees across an area, you can very quickly create brushy cover and with the trees not compeltely cut, they can continue to produce browse in the form of branches, leaves and buds! For more details on hinge cutting- you can check out the aforementioned article which dives into more elaborate instructions regarding this tactic! An Introduction To Hinge Cutting
These three quick tasks mentioned above are all high impact habitat improvement projects you can undertake with a chainsaw. They’ll require some sweat and a little strategy, but overall they offer a great return on investment both from a time and money perspective. So fire up the saw and get to work creating better habitat and better hunting for yourself this fall!
That being said – before you do that – also make sure you consider the most important item when it comes to using a chainsaw. Safety. If you’re not a frequent user, please check out this great article from Lowes which highlights some important safety reminders when using a chainsaw. Chain Saw Safety – Lowes
This is obviously a very high level introduction to some of these habitat management projects you can undertake with a chainsaw – and I know there are plenty more great tips to keep in mind. I also know that many of you in the Wired To Hunt Nation have actually done some of this kind of work already – so if you have any helpful suggestions or tips, we’d love to hear about them in the Comments section!