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Deer Photo Etiquette 101

December 20, 2011
By Jon Parsons - OVO Pro Staff , Ohio Valley Outdoors

You're sitting in your treestand and notice that a great looking buck that you've been getting pictures of on your trail cam is approaching you from the cornfield that he just left. You slowly draw your bow as his head goes behind a large white oak and place your sight on his vital area as he appears on the other side. He stops for a second to survey his surroundings and a quick squeeze of your release trigger sends your arrow through his lungs. He then runs off only to fall within sight as you celebrate inside and savor the moment.

Now that you shot that buck of a lifetime, take some pictures that everyone - including yourself - will be happy to see. These few, but simple ideas will help to compose an eye pleasing "hero shot".

First off, take a little time to clean the blood off of the animal. Put some paper towels in your pack for this, or even a handful of dry leaves will work in a pinch. You can then place your gun or bow over the wound to cover it. A deer looks a little less majestic with it's tongue hanging out, so make sure to tuck the tongue back in it's mouth. Plastic or glass eyes can be purchased through taxidermy websites or catalogs and can be placed over the deer's eyes like a contact to eliminate that "dead" look. They cost around $10 and can be reused many times.

Article Photos

The author with a fine buck taken with a bow.

Try to take your pictures before field dressing the animal and in it's natural surroundings. It lets others get a feel for the hunt and shows the deer's preferred area. There is nothing worse than pictures of your animal hanging from the rafters of your garage with a bunch of tools, gas cans and clutter in the background. Pictures of a deer in the back of your truck are undesirable too. It's not that we don't want to see how awesome your new truck is, it just doesn't make a very attractive backdrop.

Take a moment to inspect the area around you for anything that will distract the eye from the trophy to be photographed. Clear any brush or debris that will block the view through the camera lens also.

Make sure the sun is not behind you. Your camera's light meter will be tricked and the subject will appear dark and shadowed. Also, facing directly into the sun will cause you to squint. Instead, face the sun at a 45 degree angle. Use a flash, even during daylight picture taking. The flash will eliminate any harsh shadows, especially helpful when wearing a baseball cap. If no flash is available, tilt your cap back a few inches to reduce the shadow caused from the bill of it.

Fact Box

The instant viewing feature of today's digital cameras make getting great pictures much easier than the 35mm cameras of the past, so there's no excuse to not get good photos.

Positioning yourself to the side, rather than directly behind the antlers aids in making sure they don't get lost in your camouflage. A clear blue sky or a solid colored object behind the antlers makes the best background for this. Placing the camera low to the ground or at least at the eye level of the deer will also make the animal appear bigger. Never sit on or straddle the animal. I saw a picture of a record book buck not long ago and the first thing that I noticed was the hunter straddling it. It was a fantastic buck, but a weird looking picture to say the least.

The instant viewing feature of today's digital cameras make getting great pictures much easier than the 35mm cameras of the past, so there's no excuse to not get good photos.

Most of us are in a hurry to get the animal out of the woods and to a meat processor immediately after the shot, but try to remember to take as many pictures and from as many different angles as possible. Many pictures to choose from makes getting at least a few great ones a sure thing.

A few would argue that all of this prepping of the animal and blood wiping is hogwash and continue to snap away the unattractive and sometimes offensive pictures, but the question is - why would you not want a nice picture of the animal, especially if it's a trophy? Other than a mount, a picture is the next best thing to show it off!



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