With turkey season opening in two weeks and the youth season opening a week before then, there is a great possibility that you can finally tag that longbeard that has been haunting your dreams. After the shot is taken, you are responsible for capturing the moment. Many hunters are now filming their own hunts, but for the ones using still photographs, there are a few things you should know.
It is your responsibility to ensure the harvested animal is posed in a respectful manner before photographing. A photo can travel across the world in seconds, literally, once posted on social media. A great photo not only represents a great hunt, it represents the hunting community. For this reason I remove as much blood as possible from the animal. This is more of a problem with whitetails than turkeys, but if a bird has died in a field with blood splattered on the ground, consider moving it a few feet away from the initial shot location to make a presentable photograph. The same applies to a deer’s tongue when it’s hanging out. It should be put it back in or removed. While this sounds crazy, these are aspects of a photograph that can take away from a trophy you just harvested. I also tuck a deer’s legs underneath them and avoid sitting on the animal. The head should be held up high and not lying in the dirt. For turkeys, I fan the tail feathers out and make sure the head and beard is clearly visible, displaying all the attributes from the harvested trophy. Many times a turkey can be displayed on a stump for a natural, respectful photograph.
The second tip is to take a photo at, or near the initial location where the kill took place. I’m guilty of taking pictures of fallen bucks and turkeys in the back of trucks or ATVs, and looking back, the photos aren’t nearly as good as the ones taken in the field. The scenery near the location of the shot is a huge part of the hunt. Last year, I took photos of my hunting buddy’s turkey in a field with our ground blind in the background. I captured it solely because that’s where the hunt took place and it can be remembered in the photo.
The hunter will also receive some attention in the photograph. For this reason try taking a few shots of the hunter looking directly at the camera, but also a few of them admiring their trophy. When the hunter chooses to incorporate the weapon into the photo, position it in a fashion that doesn’t obstruct the view of the animal, but still makes its presence known. The hunter can place the gun across their lap, or have it oriented on the animal to cover up the entrance or exit wound, which is common with whitetails. Furthermore, be sure that a face mask, gaiter, or ball cap doesn’t shadow the hunter’s face. The excitement a hunter is expressing needs to be documented.
Hopefully, these tips will assist you in taking high quality photos during the upcoming hunting season that will document your experiences so they can be remembered forever. Have fun and good luck!