I would wait til Feb.Mar or even April when the deer may need the browse the most.Its been an easy winter so far.I perfer not to cut any tree that the animals can benefit from if it produces nuts/fruit.Is it worth having any sold for logs?How big an area you talkin?Stop into your local County conservation office ask them to come out an look at it.A couple hours walkin around with a forrester or biologist an you can learn alot.And thats what they are there for.There is even programs that will pay you to do this work on your own property called EQUIP.
1. go to qdma.com forums and read in the habitat forums. You will find hundreds of hours of reading, before and after pics, etc. from land owners.
2. Be EXTREMELY CAREFUL! Personally, I have found that once I get started working, I get excited about the progress, and over work my body. Among many other safety measures, I believe the most important advice I can give is "know when to stop for the day". As soon as I start getting tired, I quit paying attention and start making poor decisions ex.) where to stand, which way will the tree break, noticing the tree twisting, if a previously cut tree is leaned against the tree I am cutting. During the winter, trees have no sap flowing through them and can do things that will surprise the most experienced guy.
All good advice. I'll add this
1) Research the QDMA forum. Tons of info on this.. Hunting PA search should also turn similar stuff up.
2) Wear PPE,, chaps, hard hat, glasses, steel toe boots. ALways let someone know where you are going. Carry a bloodstopper bandage on your belt.
3) Take a Game of Logging course. It will make you much more productive and may save your life
4) Use an 8' long hook to pull them over so you don't have to cut as much wood
5) Talk to your local NRCS office. EQIP-Forestry is a good plan but right now the Golden Wing Warbler Initiative has all the money in PA.. Dec 21 is end of 2nd round of signups, mid Feb 2013 is last round of sign ups. There may be better things to do with that than hinge cuts and you may get some $ for it too.
6) Hinge cuts are overrated like food plots. If you can do something else with an area like that you should.
I'm not a fan of hinge cuts. The trees you hinge cut are trees that don't produce hard or soft mast. In many areas of PA the most popular hinge tree is red maple, which is a good browse tree but not a mast producer. I just cut them down and hope I get oak regen. A hinged tree limits the room for oak to regen. I do get red maple stump sprouts that become popular browse for a couple years.