In last week’s blog post we discussed the benefits of using a chainsaw in habitat management. We touched on creating wildlife openings by lowering tree density to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor and stimulate new growth. An alternative to completely cutting trees off at the ground is to use a method known as “half cutting.” By only cutting halfway through the trees, the trees fall over but continue to live. This creates instant cover for animals. Since trees continue to live when they are half cut they continue to produce leaves and browse that are easily reached by deer.
Half cutting works best on smaller trees that are between three to eight inches in diameter. To half cut, use the saw to cut about two thirds of the way through the tree, about waist high, and simply push it over by hand. It may take a few trees to get the hang of it but it can be learned pretty easily.
Half cutting is also useful in providing cover around the edge of food plots and fields, making worry deer feel a little more secure about visiting your food plots during shooting hours. Half cutting in an area close to food plots provides cover and bedding areas that otherwise might not exist. Try experimenting with half cutting trees and you will witness the benefits firsthand.