Stewardship

Where Hunting Happens, Conservation Happens™

Seven Tips For Ethical Field Photos

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Few of us hunt in tweed anymore, but most of us like to capture the spoils of our time afield. What does your field photo say about you?

At the Boone and Crockett Club, we’ve seen our share of hunting field photos. They range from downright awesome to a tad cringeworthy. In a time when we post our accolades on social media for the world to see, like it or not, we’re all ambassadors for our passion. We should be proud to be a hunter and proud of our accomplishments. But that doesn’t mean we have to take the low road when shouting from the virtual rooftops. We hope that you consider a few of these tips when posing with your trophy after a hunt.

1. Include the Habitat

Here, we see two mule deer taken in two very different landscapes. Try to include a little (or a lot) of the trophy’s habitat in the photos. Celebrate those wide open spaces where these animals thrive. 
 

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This image highlights the lush green of habitat of British Columbia. 
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In contrast, this record-book mule deer was harvested in Texas.

2. Muzzle Control

You’re as sure it’s unloaded as that deer is dead. But then again... Lead by example and always point your weapon in a safe direction—even in a photo. Try not to point the muzzle at your temple while propped up on the antlers of your dead whitetail. It might seem insignificant at the time, until it’s not. 
 

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Don't do this! Perhaps passable in 1947, not so today.

3. Show Respect

Of these two barren ground caribou photos, which one would you rather show your neighbor who’s on the fence about hunting? Chances are it’s the one where the hunter isn’t riding a dead caribou. Taking the life of an animal shouldn’t be taken lightly, which is why the least we can do is make a clean, quick kill and respect them even after they’re gone. 

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Barren ground caribou circa 1960. 
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Barren ground caribou circa 2019.

4. Celebrate the Hunt

You know hunting is so much more than pulling a trigger and putting meat in the freezer. There’s the scouting, the hiking, the weather, the other animals, the camaraderie, and so many more aspects. Try to include images that tell the whole story of a memorable experience, not just the end result.
 

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This image from the Eastman Family Archives, was featured in A Mule Deer Retrospective chapter titled "An Era of Gold". 

5. Sit in the Same County

Sitting far behind the animal you killed might give the illusion that you killed a 3,000-pound grizzly, but 90 percent of hunters know what you’re up to. Then again, there’s no need to get all snuggly with it, either. The field photo of this grizzly taken in the Yukon Territory is a good compromise. Showing the size of those claws is a nice touch, too. 

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Steven E. Gentry harvested this impressive grizzly in 2019 with a .30-378.

6. It’s Not an Ad

Ever see those photos that make the animal look like a prop in a hunting ad? Even if you have dreams of being sponsored by a rifle or optics company one day (or even if you are), do your best to resist the urge to hide yourself and the animal behind every logo in the business. Look at Henry Sampson here. He’s able to tastefully show the weapon he used to take this ram in 1907 down in Baja California, Mexico. No sponsorship needed. And he still manages a smile. 

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Taken over a century ago, this field photo is a classic. Sampson's ram doesn't make the record-book, but it's still part of B&C's  archives.

7. Some Practical Tips

To wrap this up, it’s only fair to offer a few practical tips as well. Don’t be afraid to use the flash, especially on sunny days. It will brighten dark shadows. Always wait for the autofocus to actually focus. Understand the rule of thirds for composition. And by all means, make it a family portrait. You and your kids will be glad you did. 

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Tanner P. Legg made it a family affair when it came time to snap the field photo. His record-book Texas non-typical whitetail was taken in 2019.


For more resources about taking high-quality field photos this season, visit these pages:


All the images featured in this article are from following Boone and Crockett Club publications.

2020 Fair Chase Yearbook

From the Boone and Crockett Club and brought to you by Bushnell

Since we aren't able to fit in every field photo in our magazine, we've compiled our 2020 Yearbook! The 72-page special edition is filled with over 200 additional field photos for your viewing pleasure. 

If you are not already a B&C Associate JOIN TODAY and get the 2020 Yearbook for FREE!

 

$9.95
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Regular Price: $9.95

 

Vintage Hunting Album

A Photographic Collection of Days Gone By

We’ve all heard it before…a picture is worth a thousand words. This couldn’t be truer with the release of Boone and Crockett Club’s book on the history of hunting featuring page after page of remarkable photographs of our hunting heritage dating back to the late 1800s.

$29.95
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Regular Price: $29.95

Associate Price: $23.96 - Join and Save

 

A Mule Deer Retrospective

Vintage Photos and Memorabilia from the Boone and Crockett Club Archives

Sportsmen with an eye for the good ol’ days of big game hunting will delight in B&C’s visually stunning book focusing on the iconic mule deer of the West with hundreds of vintage photographs and score charts.

$34.95
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Regular Price: $34.95

Associate Price: $27.96 - Join and Save

 

 

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"The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak. So we must and we will."

-Theodore Roosevelt