Keep this in mind the next time you take your hero photo after harvesting your big game this hunting season.
We've discussed plenty of times in the past the "dos and don'ts" of taking your photo with your trophy.
Often times this includes wiping the blood off the animal, not taking a photo in the back of a truck, and not sitting on top of your deer for the photo.
Overall, these are all great things to keep in mind. But is there one particular thing that could make your photo that much better?
Yes, there is, and it stems from my own fault. That simple trick: smiling. I won't make you read an entire article for the punchline. I'm going to keep this as simple as saying "cheese."
As hunters, aside from the love for the pursuit, we often want to prove to ourselves we can achieve what we set out for. I'm guilty of wanting a trophy whitetail. I am also guilty of passing up several younger bucks in hopes to get a giant into bow range.
I do this because I'm hunting for multiple reasons. I fill my freezer with does and fill my ego with mature bucks.
Why Should You Smile?
Take a look at the photo above. Who looks like they're having fun? This is the same buck that my father shot in Maryland this year and the picture on the left was the first picture I took.
Immediately I yelled at him, "Is this not fun? Are you not happy with this buck? Smile, would you!?" Funny how those roles reversed since I was a kid at family photos.
But really, who would you rather be hunting with? The guy who looks like he just wants the photo to be over with, or the guy who looks so happy to have an opportunity at his first velvet buck?
The guy on the right is the guy who just spent the past weekend with his son and his son's buddies creating memories for years to come. He is having fun, and the picture shows that.
I spend over 400 hours a year chasing the mysterious whitetail deer, and I am guilty of taking the time away from my wife and family to do so. So with that in mind, when I finally connect, when I finally reach my goal and succeed in my harvest, I should be extremely excited, right?
Why is it that when I shoot my first deer it's ok to smile, but by my 50th deer I should look like a stone cold killer?
Hunting is, of course, a method to bring home food to the family, and we all know this. But with that, no one takes photos in front of a gallon of milk. If they did, they may not be smiling. Let's face it, grocery shopping is not all that fun.
Deer hunting is fun. You don't take photos with your harvest because it's "meat in the freezer." You take the photo because you are happy, the hunt was fun, and maybe you want to show off a little bit...
Hunting in general is so much more than killing and eating; it's a lifestyle and a way to connect with nature. It's an opportunity to sit in peace when the world is being crazy on the outside. It's a place we go for camaraderie and a place to reflect on life. It's a fun, beautiful thing.
Of course, success is in the eye of the beholder. All the same, that shouldn't take away from you being excited. By not smiling, you often look miserable. There isn't much in between. There are times hunting can be tough, but if your end goal is to harvest an animal, why would you want to look miserable holding your trophy?
Bottom line, be happy. Make hunting fun again. Because hunting is fun and the more it looks like you're having fun, the more others may become interested in hunting as well.