The opening of deer seasons in Louisiana gets me excited even though I don’t get to hunt as much as I’d like to. Actually, I do get to hunt but I do it vicariously; I figuratively peer over the shoulder of successful deer hunters as they share with me details of their success, which I translate into stories that appear on the pages and web site of LA Sportsman magazine.
Once I get the details of the hunt down, the next thing I have to have to make the story complete are some good photos that capture the thrill of the hunt. Unfortunately, some hunters send me photos I can’t use, especially when the prized buck is hanging from the skinning rack or in the back of a pickup littered with empty corn sacks or beer cans. Too much blood and a tongue hanging out of the mouth diminishes the value of a photograph.
Tes Jolly is a nationally known wildlife photographer from Tuskegee, Alabama. She and I share membership in the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and I always enjoy visiting with her at our annual conventions, often picking her brain for photography tips. Since the big buck parade is about to kick off now that hunting seasons are in full swing, I contacted Jolly for tips she would be willing to pass along to help our hunters do a good job of photographing big bucks they bring down.
“Out of respect, I like to make the deer as presentable as possible; I ‘m not trying to make it look alive but these animals are so special, I want to attach some dignity to the hunter’s trophy,” said Jolly.
“First of all, I like to clean the deer up. I always have paper towels and Windex in my pack to wipe away blood. The tongue absolutely needs to be back in the mouth.”
“To capture the moment the best possible time to photograph a hunter with his trophy is soon after the deer is taken. I want to get the buck on his chest while he’s still limp and fold the front legs under him.
“The best photos of trophies result by placing the photographer lower than the deer. Some of my best photos were made by me lying on the ground so the deer and hunter are above me,” she said.
“Not only should the deer be as presentable as possible,” she added, “the hunter should also be too. A cigarette dangling from the corner of a mouth or him holding a beer can are absolute no-no’s. Also, he needs to be wearing his hunter’s orange for two reasons. First, the color had some pizzazz to the photo plus it hopefully will promote safety.”
“Make sure the weapon – firearm or bow – is displayed in a safe manner. In the excitement of the moment, it’s not unusual for the hunter to lay his weapon across the deer and it’s pointed at him. Another situation that helps involves the hunter tipping his cap upward a bit to avoid having a shadow on the top half of his face,” Jolly said.
With today’s cell phones being improved to the point of being able to take photos much better than earlier models, we asked Jolly her opinion of the advisability of cell phone photos for photographing in the field.
“Although I have a lot of high quality equipment I use in my photography business, I often have photos published that I have taken with my cell phone. The newer models of cell phones will shoot up to 12 megapixel photos and even better. Not many hunters have a camera along when they down a trophy so my suggestion is to use a phone with improved camera. Also,” she added, “I invest in a little Gorilla pod, a device that can be wrapped around a branch to hold the phone steady for the photo. Why not utilize the video capability of your phone to tell the whole story of your hunt.
“One last tip is to visit a taxidermist and invest in a pair of taxidermy eyes they use in their work. If you get a deer late afternoon and recover it after dark, you’re going to get the green eye glow which can ruin a good photo. Slip these in the eyes and it looks much more natural.”
Follow these tips from an expert when photographing your trophy. You owe it to the animal you take to show respect.
CANEY LAKE – Bass are schooling and hitting shad imitation topwater lures. Some are being caught on the deeper points on jigging spoons, tail spinners and crank baits. Crappie continue to be fair with best catches made around the deeper tops on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow to fair on worms and crickets. No report on catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249- 2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – Bass have been best in the mouth of cuts on shad imitations and in river lakes around stumps on jigs and soft plastics. Crappie are around the deep tops in the river and in river lakes on jigs 15-20 feet deep in 25 foot water. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Bass have been fair fishing around the boat docks early and late on a variety of lures including jigs, soft plastics and spinners. Some are also being caught in deep holes in the channel. Crappie fishing has been best fishing the deep holes out on the flats fishing shiners or jigs 10-15 feet deep in 18-20 foot deep water. Bream fishing has slowed while catfish are still biting cold worms fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bream fishing is fair on crickets with most caught around the piers and boat docks. Stripers are schooling and are hitting topwater lures with white bucktails taking some beneath the surface. Bass fishing has been best fishing topwaters in the shallows or at night fishing around the lights with plastic worms. Crappie fishing is best fishing 10 feet deep in 14-17 foot water on shiners. Catfish are fair on blood bait. For the latest, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Fishing situation this week is basically unchanged from last week. Bass have been fair around the grass and trees on Wobble heads, crank baits and Rat-L-Traps. Crappie are scattered and fair; bream fishing is fair on worms and crickets. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bream fishing has been fair on crickets and worms. Bass are fair on spinners, jigs and soft plastics. Crappie are scattered and slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been fair to good with mostly smaller fish being caught. Crappie are slow to fair with best catches for some real slabs early mornings around the boat slips. No report on bream or bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The lake is being lowered and fishing is slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is on a slow fall and fishing is quite good. Lots of big crappie are being caught and bass and catfishing are both producing. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
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