Plan Carefully for Best Trophy Photos

The second happiest moment for me as a hunter occurred when I went to the photo shop and picked up pictures of my buck of a lifetime. My happiest moment, obviously, was when I walked up and found that huge 8 point lying at my feet; the photos were just icing on the cake.

During the years since that fortunate occurrence, memories of the actual event have
become faded and frayed. The photos, though, are still there, sharp as ever. My grandkids are somewhat interested when I tell about that buck. Their eyes light up, though, when I whip out the photos. This is why it is ever so important that good quality photographs are taken so such memories can be preserved right there in living color.

I have the good fortune of getting to write stories of big bucks taken in Louisiana each
season for Louisiana Sportsman magazine and web site. I frequently receive photos of someone’s trophy, hunters who are obviously proud of their accomplishment but sadly, they didn’t take enough time to shoot quality photos. I’m unable to use some of the most poorly composed shots because they’re….well….just plain awful. The rack and body of the deer may be impressive but other elements of the photo don’t measure up.

With this in mind, I contacted friend and expert wildlife photographer from Tuskegee,
AL, Tes Randle Jolly, whose photos frequently find their way to magazine covers and full page spreads in some of the country’s most popular outdoor magazines. I asked Jolly for some tips to help the average hunter get the most memorable photos of their trophy.

“First, try and take a photo as soon as possible after harvest so you can capture the
hunter’s excitement. You may have to move the deer to a more favorable spot to get the best possible photograph,” Jolly said.

“If there is a little rise in the land, put the deer and hunter on the rise so the photographer can be a little lower. This way you may be able to capture some blue sky behind them.

“Before doing that,” she added, “be respectful of the animal and clean it up. I keep paper towels in my pack to wipe the deer’s face, removing blood and debris. If blood has dried, I carry a spray bottle of window cleaner to soften dried blood and making it easier to wipe away.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to stop blood from oozing from the nostrils so I tear off a piece of paper towel to plug each nostril. Tuck the tongue back into the mouth.

“If the deer’s side is bloody, I also clean it, sometimes in a pinch using dried leaves. The main thing,” she added, “is to show respect for the animal you have just taken.”

I’ve seen photos of big trophy bucks hanging from the meat pole and sometimes over a gut bucket. I’ve seen photos of bucks in the back of a pick-up with beverage cans, sacks of corn or other assorted stuff cluttering the photo. Jolly says it is important to set up the photo for the most pleasing presentation.

“Prop the deer up on its chest and tuck the front legs under at the elbows. Have the hunter kneel or sit behind the animal holding the antlers but be sure you check the background before composing the shot, complying with your state’s hunter orange regulations with the hunter wearing his vest,” Jolly added.

While Jolly goes afield with thousands of dollars worth of photo equipment, she says that there are many point and shoot cameras available costing under $200 and good quality cell phones that work quite well.

Follow these recommendations from a professional nature/wildlife photographer to
enable your photos to not only pop but those that lend dignity to the animal you photograph.

”When photographing your trophy, set it up in a way that respects the animal in the best possible setting.” Courtesy photo


CANEY LAKE – Night fishing for bass has been producing fairly well on dark spinners and soft plastics. They are fair to good early mornings on topwater lures with square bill crank baits, spinners and soft plastics working best later. Some bass are schooling and hitting shad imitations. Crappie have been best around the deeper tops on shiners or jigs with the Ebenezer area best fishing 10 feet deep on shiners or jigs. Bream are slow. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – No report. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Spinners and jigs are picking a few bass around the brush. The crappie are scattered around the brush. Bream have slowed. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water level is quite low. Crappie fishing has improved in 10-12 foot water on shiners or jigs. Bass are fair in the cuts on shad imitations. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE –Some bass are still being caught early mornings on topwater lures around the grass with soft plastics and swim baits working best later. Crappie are best fishing the flats in 12-14 foot water with some moving to the channel drops. Shiners and jigs are best bets. Bream are slow but catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – The drawdown on the lake is almost done. Much of the bank area is sitting high and dry. Last week, boats could still be launched at Kel’s Cove. Bass fishing has been best fishing super Flukes and swim baits. With the water level down look for bass to be on the secondary points with crank baits and soft plastics working best. Night fishing around the lights is still producing some action. Some reports of some real nice crappie being caught in 12 foot water on shiners and jigs. No report on stripers or catfish this week. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Fishing for catfish has improved. Crappie fishing has slightly
improved with best catches made on the south end. No report on bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water level is falling and quite low. Catfishing is good; others are slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.

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