Photographing Trophy Bucks

By GPS1504, Dec 14, 2014 | |
  1. GPS1504
    One of the many joys of bagging an impressive buck is the bragging rights that come with having done so. Simply telling others of your accomplishment is not enough; you have to be able to back it up with proof. This can be quite difficult when it comes to convincing those who were not present in the field with you to witness your kill. Sure, your mount will be ready to show off eventually, but in the meantime you want to show off your deer without hearing cries of 'exaggeration' being hurled your way.

    This is where the ability to take a good picture plays an important role. When it comes to killing the best buck of your life, the mount alone may not even be enough in the end. What you want are pictures in the field to capture the moment, showing you and your prize together with you as the victor. In order to pull off documentation that you can use to immortalize such an event for decades to come, it is essential that you are able to set up and take a good photo.

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    Photo: Game and Fish Mag

    The first step in being able to take that photo is to have a camera handy. Sure, a cell phone can take a picture, but do you really want to risk having your one opportunity to document this epic moment turn out just so-so? Lots of decent cameras can be purchased at reasonable prices and they will fit easily around your neck or in your pocket (a personal favorite it the freezeproof, waterproof, shockproof, and GPS enabled Nikon AW120). Once you've selected a camera you like, be sure to have it ready to go by keeping it charged and having a memory card inserted to save the awesome pictures you are about to take.

    Before you plan to start snapping your photos, remember that time is of the essence. When your kill is fresh, it will be much easier to maneuver, so get down to the business of taking photos as soon as possible. Allowing rigor mortis to set in will not only make setting up difficult for you but could also compromise the best angle at which to display and position the animal. Due to timing of the kill and the need to get photos taken quickly, it may not be possible achieve the best lighting possible, but if you do have a say in the matter, soft light is best for trophy photos such as that which is present in the early and late parts of the day. Since it may be impossible to have just the right lighting to snap a photo, remember that direct sunlight should be avoided; use full shade and a flash instead.

    Once you have a plan for dealing with the light at hand, clean up your buck as well as yourself; remove blood and saliva, smooth hair, place the tongue back inside the animal's mouth, and make sure there is nothing else in the shot that can detract from the trophy itself. As you move into position near your buck, remember to grab antlers from the base in order to accentuate the full rack, using fingertips instead of your entire hand in order to show off as much antler as possible. From there, try different angles. Remember that perspective has a lot to do with the appearance of size; by posing to the rear of the animal with it facing the camera, you will get your best reflection of size. Keep your body even with that of the animal or even get below it if possible. Remember that space around the deer is not a deal breaker; it is better to have too much than not enough as you can crop it later if need be.

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    Photo: Missouri Farmer Today

    By following a few simple tips as outlined above, you will be able to get a much cleaner and more presentable photo of your trophy buck. The better the photo, the more bragging rights of which you can take ownership. After all the proof is in the pudding and the pudding is the picture.

    Do you have any additional tactics you embrace to get a good trophy photo of your Missouri whitetail? What is your preferred pose for both you and your deer? Let us know in the comments.

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