- By Brandon Wikman
There’s nothing that refreshes a memory better than an actual photographic print. I love taking pictures of my prized animals for several reasons. A snapshot can be tossed around and showcased to friends or family. Some photos can be sent to magazines and newspapers running their annual “Big Buck Contests.” My favorite reason to take pictures is simple. I just love looking at them! Whether they’re placed into a fancy frame, tossed into an album, or filed into a heaping pile of family photos, pictures truly do say a thousand words.
I’ve included three basic photo-taking principles that I abide by. These are general rules that many other outdoor writers and photographers follow. Below you will find three different ways how not to take a picture of your wild game.
- The ‘Terrible’ Tailgate
I’ve always been known to be the guy who’d hop on the tailgate of my truck and have a pal snap a few quick pictures of me wrestling my deer into frame. Not only did it look gaudy, but truly juvenile. After getting older and more mature, I felt that I needed to show more respect for the animal. The pictures taken from the back of a truck aren’t as glamorous as placing the animal in the natural setting of where it was harvested.
Take time to prop the animal into a bedding position overlooking a hillside, river, or pasture. This will give you a fond memory and feel for how the hunt unraveled. I know that you’ll appreciate the photos for years to come by captivating the true feelings of the outdoors.
- The ‘Bloody’ Buck
I’ve hunted for ten years and have been blessed to wrap my hands around a few sets of charming antler. I still acquire a sour feeling when I see a photo of a deer smeared in red. The outcome of killing an animal can be a bloody mess, but there is no reason to exemplify the gruesomeness.
I always carry a set of paper towels with me to cleanly wipe away excess blood on the face and chest of an animal. Imagine the feeling an anti-hunting group would have. It would only add more fuel to the fire. It’s important to take all necessary precautions to treat your kill with the utmost respect and do it by taking care of it. Treating your kill with honor speaks volumes for not only you, but also the entire hunting community.
- The Deer Rider
Deer are meant for showcasing, not riding. I’ve had several friends that have been caught on camera sitting on the back of a buck, cranking its antlers back and smiling cheerfully. These types of poses look very unprofessional and beg for a good chuckle. Typically you saddle up a horse, not a whitetail.
There are several alternative ways to take quality photos with your deer, hopping on its back isn’t one of them.
I’ve learned that placing deer in a bedding position for pictures is the most eye-catching. Tuck the animal’s legs underneath its belly and sit or kneel behind the animal. Lift up his head by muscling up one side of the antler. You can pose him anyway you’d like. I prefer facing the buck’s nose directly at the camera. Now smile big!
Taking quality field photos can swallow a little time and effort. They require a slight bit of planning and creativity. I consider it all a part of the hunting experience. You invest thousands of dollars in purchasing hunting equipment; spend countless hours in stand, and now its time to celebrate your accomplishment! Ask yourself, what are a couple more hours to ensure that you’ll have a stellar photo to share with family, friends, and hunting partners for the rest of your life.