This has been a deer season to remember, especially as it relates to the size and the number of trophy bucks taken around the state. Having had the privilege of writing and marketing stories about a number of these deer, I can attest to the quality of the bucks taken.
Unfortunately, I can also attest to the inferior quality of many of the photographs taken of these special animals at the end of the hunt.
If a hunter has been fortunate enough to win the battle against a wary and wily whitetail buck, the deer is far too valuable an animal to be photographed in ways that rob him of the respect and dignity he deserves, even in death.
Looking back over the photos of the trophies that came to my attention, several things were common in the inferior photos.
• Blood, debris and wound site not cleaned or covered.
• Photographing a deer with the animal's tongue lolling out of the mouth.
• Taking a photograph of the deer in the back of a truck with beverage cans, feed sacks and other debris cluttering the photo.
• Photographing a deer hanging upside down on a skinning rack.
• Photo taken inside garage or other such building.
Keith Sutton is an outdoor writer friend and expert photographer who lives in Little Rock, AR. I shared my frustration and concerns with him and asked him to offer suggestions that should help improve the quality of photography of trophy bucks.
Louisiana's deer season is about completed but maybe, just maybe, some pointers can be picked up to help our hunters improve the quality of the photos of deer taken in the future. We have a whole year to get ready.
"The number one thing I think is for deer hunters to buy a digital camera - they're not expensive at all – and stick it in their pocket or day pack when they go hunting. Most cell phone photos are not nearly the quality of those taken with a digital camera," said Sutton.
"Get a buddy to take photos of the successful hunter and his trophy in the woods where the hunt ended. You can capture the excitement of the moment on the hunter's face as well as showing something of the habitat where the deer was taken.
"Take a minute and wipe the blood off the deer's nose and mouth, stick the tongue back in its mouth and wipe away any debris that will clutter the photo. I always carry along a bandana, paper towels and bottle of water for this purpose."
What position should the hunter and the deer be in for the best photo? Sutton had some suggestions regarding the photo set-up.
"There are several good ways to set the photo up that makes for a nice picture and gives the animal some dignity. I like to see the hunter squatted down behind the deer, holding the rack at the bases which allows you to hold the head up. It's also nice to have the firearm or bow used in the hunt displayed in a safe manner.
"Take plenty of pictures from different angles and different set-ups. Have the hunter walking up behind the deer, firearm at port arms as if he's checking to make sure the animal has expired.
"With digital cameras, you don't have to worry about wasting film, you can try different things and then pick out the best photos.
"Taking good photos is not rocket science," said Sutton. "With just a little time and practice, anybody should be able to have photos of their trophy they'll be proud to show their buddies."
Glynn Harris Outdoors is proudly sponsored by DSK, Ltd. of Minden.