There is no replacement for experience. Funny thing about experience: It's hard to get it if you don't have it . . .
I've written before about my sprawling 17-acre ranch. I closed on the land late last summer and didn't have a chance to do much in the way of habitat work prior to last fall's hunting seasons. But I've spent plenty of time daydreaming about the things I'd like to get done this spring.
And, well, it's spring. Which means it's time to get to work. Trouble is, I don't know exactly how to go about it. I know I need to do a fair amount of timber stand improvement, primarily in the form of hinge-cutting and removal of undesirable tree species.
I grew up in a house that was heated with wood. So I've spent more than my fair share of time behind a chainsaw. But rendering logs into hunks of firewood is a fair bit different than partially falling trees in a manner that will create the desired habitat.
I've been told that hinge-cutting isn't terribly difficult and that it gets easier with experience. Well, I'm sure running a bulldozer also gets easier with experience. I suspect the primary limiting factor to gaining that experience is figuring out how to get the thing moving in the first place.
Thus it has been for me with hinge-cutting. I've tried a little bit but wasn't at all sure I was doing things right. Which makes this video from Whitetail Properties such a timely and much-appreciated effort.
In the video, whitetail habitat guru Jake Ehlingrer of HabitatSolutions360, explains the concept behind hinge-cutting and the tools needed to get the job done.
It's an introductory type of video but I found that I learned more in that 5-minute span than I had in all previous outings. I'm not declaring myself an expert just yet. But I do feel like I have a much better understanding of what to do the next time I hit the property with chainsaw in hand.